Now delivering in the Durham-Raleigh-Chapel Hill area. FREE delivery on orders over $30!

FAQ

ABOUT UNGRADED & UGLY PRODUCE

Our name alludes to the UDSA system of “grading” produce--evaluating the quality and marketability of fresh produce, which is largely based on cosmetic features rather than taste or nutritional content. This grading system encourages growers to leave the tasty and nutritious produce with minor cosmetic imperfections unharvested.

At Ungraded Produce, we look beyond the “grade” and appearance of the produce and prioritize sourcing the freshest produce. We still thoroughly inspect our produce to remove low quality products, but our name calls for a radical transformation of what we value in the produce we purchase--it envisions a food system that prioritizes taste and nutrition over appearance to create a more sustainable, equitable food system.

The term “ugly produce” refers to produce that is misshapen, atypically colored, has minor scarring, or is a different size than what you’d usually encounter in a grocery store. “Ugly produce” is exactly the same as its “normal” counterparts, save for looking different.

Meanwhile, billions of pounds of ugly produce go to waste each year because it fails to meet grocery stores’ strict appearance standards. But who says that a fresh eggplant that looks like Pinocchio, a local butternut squash with minor scarring on the skin, or a crisp oversized cucumber can’t have a place at our tables? We feature this high quality, ugly produce in our boxes because we have set out to prove that funny-looking fruit and vegetables deserve our love!

We do not sell produce that would otherwise get donated to food banks. Instead, we are sourcing the 20 billion pounds of produce that is going to waste on farms or at different stages along the supply chain, where simply leaving the produce in the ground or throwing it away are oftentimes more cost- or time-effective options than donating it. Simply put, farmers and food banks alike often lack the time, transportation, and volunteers needed to get the majority of this 20 billion pounds of underutilized produce into the hands of those who need it. That’s where we come in.

Instead of watching this produce go to waste, we encourage farmers to pick and sell their ugly produce to us by paying them fairly for their product. Additionally, we donate 2-5 pounds of fresh produce for every box sold to local food pantries, and have donated over 46,000 pounds of produce to our food bank partners to date. We’re proud of the impact we make on the farm and in the community! 
Our goal is to rescue as much produce from going to waste as possible, while providing you with an affordable and delicious product! To do this, we primarily source “ugly” and surplus fruits and veggies from suppliers that can provide us with the necessary volumes and variety of quality produce we need in order to fill our boxes! Depending on the season, weather, and market conditions, this means we could be working with an array of local or regional growers, wholesalers, and other produce distributors.
At Ungraded Produce, our #1 goal is to reduce food waste, which we do by sourcing produce that is at risk of going to waste because it is in excess or “ugly”--i.e. is too big/small, misshapen, or has discoloration or minor scarring. Before we talk about our sourcing strategy, we want to provide a brief background on produce waste:

An estimated 52% of fruits and vegetables grown in America go to waste each year. Approximately 20% of this waste occurs at the farm level. In many cases, farmers train their employees to leave ugly produce in the field. This is because ugly produce does not meet the cosmetic requirements for commercial sale, so farmers cannot justify the costs associated with harvesting this produce that will simply get rejected at the supermarket level. This ugly produce rarely gets donated to food banks, because farmers aren’t picking it in the first place. (Just a note: these practices are more common on medium-to-large farms.)

Losses also occur in the post-harvest stage. Much of the produce picked for commercial sale is sent to facilities where it is inspected and repacked before being sent to supermarkets. At these facilities, a significant amount gets culled due to cosmetic imperfections. This produce almost exclusively ends up in dumpsters (we’ve seen it with our own eyes, sadly), where it gets sent to landfills to rot and emit greenhouse gases.

How we source:
We wanted to take the time to provide a bit more background on food waste to emphasize that food waste occurs at all stages of the supply chain, and at Ungraded Produce we feel that we’re able to make the biggest impact by working with as many suppliers as possible that have a source of “at risk” produce. This means that we don’t discriminate based on where the produce was grown, whether it is conventional or organic, etc.

We do love to work with farmers using organic practices and source as much locally grown produce as possible, but we also don’t want to lose sight of our mission to fight food waste by ignoring opportunities to recover non-local ugly produce!

If local and/or organic produce is really important to you, we have good news! We do plan to offer a 100% all-local and a 100% all-organic produce box sometime in the near future. Sign up for our newsletter so you can receive updates on the status of these products!
We donate between 2-5 pounds of fresh produce to local food pantries for each box sold. To date, we've donated over 46,000 pounds of fresh produce to Triangle-area food pantries. 

As for the surplus produce that doesn’t meet our standards, we separate it out and compost it!

Absolutely not! Although we source ugly and surplus produce, we conduct various quality inspections throughout the buying-receiving-packing process to ensure that only the freshest, tastiest produce makes it into your box! “Ugly” produce refers to atypically sized, shaped, and colored produce--these minor cosmetic flaws do not affect the shelf life at all! As for “surplus” produce, we’ll source produce that is in excess simply because it lacks a committed buyer, which is a fairly common occurrence because it is difficult for farmers to grow exactly the amount that will match demand. We’ve become an outlet in which farmers can sell us their surplus produce so that they don’t have to plough it under!

 

ORDERING & MY ACCOUNT

Please note: If you update your subscription information after the customization window for an order has closed, this will not go into effect until the next order.

You can manage your subscription by logging into your Ungraded Produce account. First, click on the “Recurring Items” tab on the left-hand side.

To adjust your delivery frequency, you simply can select a new frequency from the dropdown menu under the “Frequency” tab.

To change your product type, you will need to remove the product by hitting the ‘x’ on the right-hand side of the screen. You can then select a new product by going back to the Shop page and adding a new product to your cart.
Please make sure to click the “update order” button when you are done!
At this time, we do not offer a customizable box option, but plan to do so in the future. Over this next year, we are committed to further developing our supply chain, growing our team, and optimizing our operational procedures so that we have the capacity to offer 100% customizable boxes. In the meantime, we want to make sure we’re only sending you produce that you will enjoy! Please let us know about any allergies or strong aversions to particular fruits and veggies by logging into your Ungraded Produce account, clicking on the “Preferences” tab, and selecting any items listed under the “Dislikes” dropdown menu.

Please click “save preferences” on the bottom of the screen to ensure that this ‘dislikes’ list is updated!
Absolutely! If there are items that you dislike or are allergic to, you can fill out a ‘Dislikes’ report. This report can be found by clicking on the ‘Preferences’ tab on your profile. One thing to note: our system only accepts up to 6 dislikes, so to maximize your dislikes, you can select options such as all winter squash (“Squash, Winter, All”) instead of having to use all of your dislikes to select acorn, butternut, spaghetti squash, etc. individually.
To change your username, email address, or phone number associated with your account, log into your Ungraded Produce account and click on the “Account Info” tab.

Please click the “update” button at the bottom of the screen to ensure that all of your changes have been saved!
You are able to skip a delivery, and avoid being charged, up until the customization window closes for that delivery.

You can skip a delivery one of two ways:
  1. Need to just skip one upcoming delivery? If so, log into your Ungraded Produce account, and click on the “Upcoming Deliveries” tab. A chart will appear with all of your upcoming deliveries. On the far right-end of the chart, you can click a “Skip Delivery” button that corresponds with the order you wish to skip.
  2. Going on vacation or out of town for several weeks and need to pause the subscription? If so, log into your Ungraded Produce account, and click on the “Delivery Hold” tab. You can the provide us with the start and end dates of your delivery hiatus by selecting a “leaving” and “returning” date. Your next delivery will be made during the delivery cycle subsequent your return date. Please click on the “Add Vacation” button to ensure that these changes have been saved.

You will not be able to skip your delivery or receive a refund once the customization window closes, as our team has already prepared your box. But we understand that no one wants to come home from a trip to a box of produce that has been sitting out for days, so there is still another option for your to help us make an impact! If you have missed the customization window cut off and don’t want your box, you have the option to donate it to a local food pantry by contacting us at support@ungradedproduce.com or by calling 919-245-3791. You will still be charged for the box, but will help us contribute to hunger relief efforts!
If you need to pause your deliveries for an indefinite period, or cancel your subscription altogether, you can do so with no penalties as long as you cancel before the customization window closes.

In order to pause indefinitely or cancel your subscription, please go to the “Recurring Items” tab on your profile and delete your recurring product, and/or email us at admin@ungradedproduce.com to receive assistance from our support team. From there you will be prompted to take our exit survey--we’re a young company and always looking for feedback, so please let us know why you’re leaving so that we can continue to improve!

 

DELIVERY

We deliver to most towns that border Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. To check if we deliver to your area, visit our signup page and enter your zip code in the pop up. If you live outside of our current delivery zone, you can add your name to the waitlist and we will reach out as soon as we are preparing to expand to your town!
We deliver on weekends between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm, and your delivery day is based on your zip code. Right now, we do the Durham/Chapel Hill area on Saturday, and the Raleigh area on Sunday. Sticking to this schedule allows us to create the most efficient delivery routes to cut transportation costs and reduce emissions, which in turn allows us to keep our prices low!
You can select the weekend you’d like to receive your first delivery on! You will be given an option to select your first delivery weekend on a calendar popup during the checkout process.

However, at this time you are not able to select the specific day in which you receive your first delivery. We make all Durham/Chapel Hill area deliveries on Saturdays, and all Raleigh area deliveries on Sundays. Sticking to this schedule allows us to create the most efficient delivery routes to cut transportation costs and reduce emissions, which in turn allows us to keep our prices low!
There is no need to be home to receive the delivery! Our drivers will leave your produce box at your front door, and you will receive a text message when the delivery has been made. If you live in an apartment, gated community, or just prefer that your box not be left at the front door, you can provide us with detailed instructions on where to leave the box. You can enter these instructions in the “Driver Notes” section when signing up.
If you’re going out of town or simply won’t be home for most of the day and are concerned about your box getting left out, we have some solutions! 

1. Pick up your box from one of our pickup locations - Our customers currently have the option of picking up their order from Bull City Olive Oil in Durham on Saturdays. Customers can pick up the box at their leisure during store hours (11:00 - 5:00), and we’ll waive the delivery fee as well! This is a great option for those who are out of the house on weekends and want a bit more control over when they get their box. 

2. Have your delivery shipped to a friend or neighbor’s house - If you’re going out of town but still want to come home to an Ungraded Produce delivery, we can deliver your box to a friend or neighbor! All you need to do is update your delivery address on your profile before the order cutoff window closes on Thursday at 5 am. Just don’t forget to change it back to your address the following week! :)
Please note: If you update your delivery address or instructions after the customization window has closed, this will not go into effect until the next order, and your delivery will be made to the old address. Please contact us if you need to make changes once the delivery window has closed.

To update your delivery address:

  • Log into your Ungraded Produce account, and click on the “Account Info” tab. On this screen, you can update your delivery address. Please make sure to click the “update order” button when you are done!

To update your delivery instructions:
  • Log into your Ungraded Produce account, and click on the “Preferences” tab. On this screen, you can provide the driver with any relevant delivery information or instructions under the “Note to Driver” section. Please make sure to click the “save preferences” button at the bottom of the page when you are done!
We do deliver to apartments! To ensure that your delivery gets to you in a timely manner, please provide us with detailed instructions on where to leave the box in the “Drivers Notes” section when signing up. Gate codes are particularly helpful! If you live in a card-access only apartment and are not home to receive the delivery, we can also leave your box at your leasing office!

 

BILLING

Billing occurs through a secure third party payment processor, authorize.net, at 8:00 am after the customization cutoff window closes.

The “Delivery History” page is the best place to view all charges, payments, and refunds on your account. On this page, you’ll notice a “Total” column and a “Balance” Column. The “Total” column indicates the cost of of the product that was delivered (i.e. the regular price of your product). The “Balance” column indicates the amount due after the delivery charge, credit, or payment is applied to the account. The “Balance” amount is the amount that will charged to your credit card on the next billing date. A balance should only accrue if your credit card is expired or declined upon being charged. If you need to clarify anything, please contact us!
Orders are processed once the order customization window closes, and your credit card will subsequently get charged on the same day at 8:00 am.  

You will not be able to skip your delivery or receive a refund once the customization window closes, as our team has already prepared your box. But we understand that no one wants to come home from a trip to a box of produce that has been sitting out for days, so there is still another option for your to help us make an impact! If you have missed the customization window cut off and don’t want your box, you have the option to donate it to a local food pantry by contacting us at support@ungradedproduce.com or by calling 919-245-3791. You will still be charged for the box, but will help us contribute to hunger relief efforts!
We highly recommend that you save your credit card, and neither us nor our software provider collects credit card information. Instead, it goes our highly secure payment processor, Authorize.net. If you feel very strongly against saving your payment information online, please contact us and we will set you up to pay an initial payment to cover the first 10 deliveries, at a minimum.
At this time we are unable accept SNAP/EBT/Food Stamps as an online food retailer. We are committed to making fresh produce as affordable and accessible as possible, and plan to find ways to accept SNAP/EBT/Food Stamps in the near future!
To check any of your recent charges, log into your Ungraded Produce account and click on the “Delivery History” tab. On this page, you will see a chart with all of your past orders. On the right hand side of the chart, you can view or print an invoice that corresponds with the order by clicking on ‘view’ or ‘print’.

Alternatively, you can contact our support team and we can email you the invoice.

 

CUSTOMER SERVICE & QUALITY

If you ever have an issue with your order, a question about your delivery, or receive a product that doesn’t meet your expectations, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We can be reached through the ‘contact us’ page, by emailing us at admin@ungradedproduce.com (preferred), or calling us at 919-245-3791. We will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible to resolve the issue!
If you ever receive a product that isn’t up to par or goes bad quickly, we want to know about it! We take quality control seriously at Ungraded Produce, but there are a number of reasons why you might receive a low quality product: a product could get damaged in-transit, or weather conditions (such as periods of heavy rain) could cause a product to spoil quickly, even if it seemed fine when in our possession.

Regardless of the cause, we want to know if you receive a low quality product so that we can issue an appropriate credit, as well as use this information to continue improving our sourcing and quality control processes! Please don’t hesitate to email us at admin@ungradedproduce (pictures of the product are always appreciated) so that we can make things right!

 

OTHER QUESTIONS

Unfortunately, we can’t reuse boxes due to food safety regulations, but we are looking into some more sustainable packaging solutions for the future!
We want to cut down on our waste as much as possible but unfortunately, we are not allowed to reuse our boxes due to some existing food safety regulations. Other options such as reusable grocery bags aren’t practical because we need to be able to stack our products in our warehouse and in our drivers’ vehicles to maximize vertical space and delivery efficiency. We are always on the lookout for more sustainable packaging solutions that are both cost effective and practical. For example, we’ve recently made the switch from flat-ship boxes to pre-printed, pop-out boxes that don’t require packing tape or logo stickers.

Regarding our use of plastic bags, we try to limit our use of plastic bags to loose items such as grape tomatoes or cherries to protect them from damage. Occasionally, we also bag our lettuce/greens if we’re concerned that the condensation from the greens could promote spoilage of other products (particularly berries), or if we feel that a delicate green will wilt in transit if it’s not “preserved” in its own moisture. Otherwise, we try to keep things as plastic-free as possible!
We want to thank you for spreading the love by referring your friends and neighbors to Ungraded! When you refer a friend, you will both receive $5 off your next box. When your friend signs up, they have the opportunity to list who referred them to Ungraded. We’ll then apply a $5 credit to both you and your friend’s next order!

There is no limit to how many times you can receive the refer-a-friend discount! Social media, neighborhood portals such as Nextdoor, and other listservs are a great way to spread the word and save even more money on your produce!!
We’re a small company but we’re growing fast and want to make our way to your hometown as soon as reasonably practical! If you are unable to subscribe due to living outside of our delivery zone, you can add your name to our wait list and we’ll reach out as soon as we’re ready to expand to your town! Make sure to tell your friends and neighbors about us--the sooner we grow our wait list, the sooner we can begin delivering to your area.

In the meantime, stay in the loop by signing up for our newsletter, and following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

 

MY DELIVERIES

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