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Hungry Harvest Aims to Reduce Waste By Rescuing Ugly Fruits

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)--It's called ugly produce, and a lot of the time it ends up in the garbage even though it's perfectly good to eat. But now, one company is rescuing ugly fruits and vegetables with the goal of reducing waste and feeding the hungry.

Hungry Harvest recovers produce that would otherwise be thrown away. Sometimes farmers can't sell everything they've grown. Other times, stores simply reject fruits and veggies if they don't look good enough.

"This one kind of has a lump, this one is weirdly tubular," Hungry Harvest Philadelphia Manager Cynthia Plotch says.

"Philadelphia is a real food conscious city and socially conscious city, and that's the perfect customer for Hungry Harvest," Plotch says.

Started by a University of Maryland student in his dorm room back in 2014, Hungry Harvest expanded from the Maryland, D.C. and Virginia area to Philly last October.

The business quickly gained more than 500 customers and just expanded to South Jersey last month.

Emily Koch was sold on the idea instantly.

"I really identify with Hungry Harvest's mission to give back to the greater community," Koch says.

The mission goes beyond minimizing food waste.

"For every box we deliver, we also donate fruits and vegetables to Philabundance in Philadelphia," Plotch says.

Hungry Harvest recently donated its 5000th pound.

"We can't do it alone," Director of Food Acquisition Scott Smith says. "We need as much help as we can get."

One in five people in Philly is hungry. Philabundance needs 200,000 pounds of produce a week to keep up.

"This produce that we just received as a donation will go to those Fresh For Alls and be in the hands of clients that same day," Smith says.

Hungry Harvest sells a number of options. The Mini Harvest costs $15 and includes a leafy green and about 8 pounds of fruits and vegetables, all delivered to your doorstep once a week.

"So it costs about 20-30 percent less than other options," Plotch says.

During the growing season, Hungry Harvest also sources a lot of its fruits and vegetables from local farms in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

"If there's any way to be thinking about food and sustainability and the environment and communities who need us to be investing in the them and giving back to them, this is really easy," Koch says. "To feel like a citizen of Philadelphia that's why you do it. That's really the reason to do it."

To learn more about Hungry Harvest CLICK HERE.

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