Our grocery stores have lots of things — thousands, probably. We might take a hard look at 100 of them. If we roll through in 30 minutes, we’re averaging less than 20 seconds per item. Those 20 seconds, and then the quick jaunt from shopping cart to kitchen to belly, make up a minuscule part of our food’s journey. And when the story starts at the grocery store, it’s like cutting into the last 20 seconds of Beyoncé’s “Sorry”: who’s Becky? There’s no context.

Our distance — first geographically and temporally, then emotionally — from our food shields us from a scary truth: we’re wasting 20 billion pounds of fruits and veggies each year in the US. A lot of that wastage happens in the home (soggy bag of spinach anyone?), but much is also wasted in fields, warehouses, and behind many other closed doors.

“Our eyes, with a narrow idea of “perfection” in mind, throw a red flag at the sight of weirdo apples.”

There’s a laundry list of reasons why produce gets wasted: not ripe enough, overripe, too big, too small, bruised, irregularly colored, oddly shaped. And sometimes, there’s just no buyer. For our produce, life is like the Barkley marathons: many start but few finish. (But most of these misfits are perfectly delicious.)

Waste is really, really bad for Earth, not just because of all the starving mouths that could’ve eaten, but because of the water and energy that goes into producing food. As we well know, what’s bad for Earth is usually bad for us. To solve climate change, we need to start with how we produce our food.

When we’re far (in body and mind) from how our food is made, we forget how to see value in difference instead of uniformity. Our eyes, with a narrow idea of “perfection” in mind, throw a red flag at the sight of weirdo apples.

Long live the MISFIT

We’re in pretty deep, but what would happen if we gave our taste buds a chance to prove our eyes wrong? That’s what we’re trying to do at MISFIT: sling cold-pressed juice from the finest misfit fruits and veggies around. Beyond that, we want people to taste bomb juice, make the connection that it’s from misfit produce, and then think: can good eats only come from good looks? The question is loaded, and the answer is nah.

Of course, we don’t need to stop at juice, or even food. We view so many things through prescriptive lenses, which tell us what’s accepted more than what’s valuable. Over time, we’ve confused the two ideas. Food, clothes, going to concerts alone — there are endless misfits on our plates, on our bodies, and in our communities. And frankly, it’s time they were celebrated.

So long live the misfit, in our food and in all of us.