Leah works in mental health. She used Misfits Market's organic produce service for roughly half a year.
What Is Misfits Market?
Misfits Market is an online service that delivers organic produce directly to your door.
Almost half of all produce harvested in the United States is never eaten. Fruits and vegetables go unpicked in fields or get thrown away at the store, simply because they don’t look good.
Every box of Misfits produce you order benefits farmers, helps prevent food waste, and ultimately helps save our environment. Our rapidly expanding Philadelphia- and New Jersey-based operation rescues produce from regional farms and distributes it throughout the Northeast in three business days or less.
These are direct quotes from the Misfits Market website. When I signed up for this service, it sounded great. Organic produce delivered straight to my door, costing less than non-organic produce at my local supermarket, and it benefits local farmers? It sounded great! I wasn't really concerned about how the produce looked. It was all going to get cooked or eaten anyway.
I signed up for the "mischief box," which was 10–12 pounds of organic produce weekly. My first box arrived within two days of placing my order. I was super excited, and it was loaded with all kinds of stuff. I was expecting mostly veggies but was surprised to find a bunch of fruit as well (though I was a bit disappointed to see that the fruit was almost all red delicious apples, which I don't love).
The Ugly Side of Ugly Produce
After a few weeks of receiving similar boxes—lots of the same vegetables and a ton of red delicious apples, I started noticing the labels on the produce. The vast majority of it was grown in Mexico, which was shocking to me, since the website said the produce was grown on regional farms and supports local farmers to reduce food waste in America. I live in New York, so Mexico isn't exactly a neighboring state.
I understand that avocados may come from Mexico, but when I contacted customer service, the response I got was that "unless you want a box full of root vegetables, we have to source our produce from outside of the United States, especially in the winter." Okay, I guess, but the root vegetables in my box also came from Mexico (see photos below), and this was in May, which isn't considered winter in the Northern hemisphere.
It was also around this time that I started noticing that the produce in my boxes was also arriving badly bruised (to the point where it was inedible), rotting or actually rotten, or sprouting. I always have potatoes in the house, and I understand that organic produce may go bad quicker, but to have a box full of potatoes sprout and be mushy by the time they arrive or within days of arrival, to have carrots be soft and mushy on the day they arrive, and to have 3/4ths of the produce be inedible by the time it arrives on my doorstep seemed unacceptable to me. This seemed like even more of a waste.
If you have an allergy to a specific type of produce, you may want to rethink a subscription to Misfits Market. When I explained that I have an allergy to a specific item, the response from customer service was:
We will note your allergy in your account to restrict it from being packed into your box. Our team will make every effort to accommodate your allergy. However at this time we are not able to guarantee that this item or item(s) will never make it into one of your orders.
Of course, that specific item made it into nearly every one of my orders, and when I complained about it and the waste it was causing, their solution was to "give it to someone else." So they didn't see any issue with me paying for a subscription box that continually had items that they knew I was allergic to and couldn't use, and the best resolution they could come up with was to just give them to someone else. The whole basis for using Misfits Market was to save money, but I found myself throwing money into the garbage week after week.
A Terrible Box
Although the boxes came packed full of biodegradable packaging, the produce still arrived so bruised that it was mushy to the point of being unappealing and inedible, far past the point of being just ugly, as shown in the picture above.
The pears were so deeply bruised that they were just mush. The peppers and the zucchini were somehow sliced, which I don't think happened during the delivery process. The slicing couldn't have happened when I opened the box, since they were way at the bottom under layers of brown paper packaging, and they were so dried out I couldn't even use them to cook with. The leeks had actually been broken as well.
I complained about this box and received a replacement box which was actually worse than this one.
One of the Worst Boxes I've Received
In the photo above, you see the contents of the box on the day I received it. The green peppers arrived split open. The insides were dried out, and the peppers themselves were unusable. The purple item in the center was at some point a regular orange carrot, but when I opened the box, it was slimy, soft, and rotten. One half of the onion was dissolving. While I don't personally eat onions, my family always had them around when I was growing up, and it took months for them to rot like this.
The spaghetti squash was dried out and inedible when I cut it open, and the fruit was so overripe that I couldn't eat them. I ended up having to use gloves to even touch this stuff to throw it out. The kale was on my list as an allergen, but they continued sending it to me every single week. The shishito peppers were in pretty good condition, although some were a little soft. I looked up recipes that told me they're supposed to be mild with an occasional hot one in the bunch—every single one was like eating a jalapeño.
The worst part is that this was the replacement box I received just days after complaining about the condition of a box I had received earlier in the week. I've worked in customer service in the past, and whenever a customer has complained, I've always made sure that any replacement has been perfect. This was the box that broke the camel's back and had me cancel my subscription.
Two Weeks' Worth of Potatoes
After cancelling my subscription, I decided to make a dinner using potatoes. I knew I had plenty of potatoes, since each box always had plenty of potatoes included. When I looked at the two weeks' worth of potatoes I had, this is what I found. Every single one (some were received just three days earlier) was sprouting alarmingly, and many were so mushy they seemed to be dissolving. Once again, I had to glove up to put these in the trash.
My Overall Opinion of Misfits Market
If you haven't tried Misfits Market, I'd strongly suggest that you don't. The quality was poor, and while the idea was good, they weren't able to put it into practice. If I wanted Mexican produce, I'd be able to go to my local supermarket and buy the kind that doesn't rot before it enters my house. Plus, the customer service at Misfits Market was atrocious. My request to speak to a manager was never returned.
If you'd like to support local, organically grown farms, I'd suggest that you find a farmers market in your area, or a CSA to support real local people. There are other ugly produce delivery programs available, but unfortunately, none of them are available in my area at the present time. I'd love to hear about your experience with them.
Questions & Answers
Question: I would try Misfit Market, but think this review has changed my mind. Should I try it anyways?
Answer: I can't stop you from trying it, but based on my experience, I wouldn't give them another shot. Based on the other comments, it seems like many people are still having the same problems that I did when I cancelled my service with them.
Question: Have you tried delivery every two weeks for Misfits Market? I’ve been very pleased.
Answer: I haven’t, because the quality of weekly boxes was so poor. I can’t see what would change if I had gone to every two weeks, and I refused to keep throwing money in the trash.
Question: If most is coming from Mexico how can you make statements saying it’s local farmers? I’m not doing this now.
Answer: Exactly. It certainly wasn’t coming from local farmers, and if I wanted produce from Mexico, I could easily purchase it from my supermarket in much better condition! Farmer’s markets are a better way to support local farmers.
Question: This “comment” seems more like an advertisement. Do you, the writer of this article, work for a Food Corporation or a Farming Co-op?
Answer: It isn’t a comment or an ad. I don’t work in the food or farming industry at all, and I just wanted to share my own experience. If you don’t think vegetables that are cut up and dried out, or straight out rotting isn’t terrible, feel free to throw your money in the trash and use Misfits Market. I didn’t spend that much time on this article, but it’s just my own opinion of the products and the service.
Question: I take issue with your "rotting potatoes" picture. They aren't rotting! Some of them are wrinkly and growing eyes. That is normal! Clearly, you didn't grow up around farming! Trim those eyes off and plunge the wrinkly ones in water. We keep them all winter long like that. Aren't rotting potatoes are stinky and wet?
Answer: I don’t have any issue with potatoes that have a few eyes growing - I just cut those out. But when a potato is so soft that it’s slimy and disintegrating, I’d consider that rotting. I have never seen a potato do that before, and I don’t know of any ways to fix a potato that’s gotten to that point. I’ve never had these issues with any other potatoes, just the ones from Misfits Market. And no, I didn’t grow up on a farm. But I know rotting produce when I see it.
Question: I started a biweekly delivery from Misfits Market in February 2020. Much more produce per box, way more variety than you show. Only 1 bad item in 5 weeks. Why would our experiences with Misfits Market differ so greatly?
Answer: I don’t know. You seem to be having a very different experience than I had. Many other people have commented that service is being delayed and produce is even worse than it was before. I hope it stays good for you!
Question: It’s a good idea but the company doesn’t have its act together. I ordered a couple of extra items which didn’t show up and a week and a half after sending customer service an email per their process, I’ve heard nothing. I’ll wait a little more and try one more box but I’m close to cancelling. Why continue with a failed business?
Answer: Because they’re still taking your money, and making it so difficult to get it back that maybe people are giving up instead of fighting it.
Question: Do you know that squash is not a root vegetable? Using those photos as examples of root vegetables grown in Mexico is a bit misleading, don't you think?
Answer: I do know that squash aren’t root vegetables, and I don’t think it’s misleading if you read the article. The photos are intended to show that it isn’t just root vegetables coming from Mexico. Nearly all of the produce in every box I received was from Mexico, even though they claimed to source produce from local and regional farms.
Question: My boxes have been full of rotten produce with ice packs warm. Now wondering if they were ever frozen. I have nothing good to say about this company. I live near the company and my boxes come rotten (not ugly) rotten!!! But yet people in Connecticut are claiming theirs are perfect?? Why is that?
Answer: It seems like more people have negative experiences than positive ones. It makes me wonder about the people who claim to receive perfect boxes weekly. I’d suggest canceling before throwing away any more of your money.
Question: Misfits is horrible, how do they get away with it?
Answer: I have no idea! They are the only service that delivers in my area though. Some people have good experiences though, just not me.
Question: My experience in CT has been wonderful....for almost a year now. Perhaps it is your delivery service?
Answer: I doubt the delivery service was involved in sourcing, selecting, and packaging poor quality, damaged, and rotting produce. I’d receive my box within a day of being shipped, which led me to believe that the issue was with MM.
Question: It seems you’ve misunderstood the point of misfits produce & were expecting perfect photogenic produce, the Mexico issue not withstanding?
Answer: I didn’t care how it looked at all, as long as it wasn’t rotting and could be used! Which definitely wasn’t what I received. It appears that you’ve misunderstood my entire post.
Question: I've recently had the same issues with Misfits market and I am beyond the point of frustration with them. The customer service is as horrible as the produce. Any idea if there is an actual phone number to call these people since they do not respond to email?
Answer: I always had to contact them through emails, I didn’t notice a phone number on the site at all. I’m sorry that you have to deal with this.
© 2019 Leah