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Behold, The Future is Here: An Interview with Chef Homaro Cantu

Behold, The Future is Here: An Interview with Chef Homaro Cantu

Chef Homaro Cantu explores the intersection of food and technology.

By George Markoulakis

AS A CHUBBY 10-YEAR-OLD, I vividly remember staring at a piece of chocolate cake and asking my mom, “Why can’t this be healthy? I don’t ever want to eat broccoli.” Fast forward ten years and I’m sitting at the bar of iNG with the man who holds the solution to my childhood woes. Cue Chef Homaro Cantu.

Cantu, 37, holds a mission to bring the culinary world up to speed with 21st century technology and science. As the executive chef and founder of moto and iNG restaurants, both located in the West Loop, Chef Cantu has taken molecular gastronomy and experiential dining to the next level. Both moto and iNG are well known for the inventiveness of their tasting menus built upon molecular gastronomy techniques. While his restaurants’ prices tend to target the special occasion patron, Chef Cantu is also passionate about transforming the way Americans eat every day. In fact when asked to explain the science that made his food so famous he answered that he doesn’t “believe in ‘molecular gastronomy’ anymore.”

SPOON: Can you explain molecular gastronomy?
CANTU: I believe in food replication. Molecular gastronomy is just the science of food. Anybody that says water boils at 100 degrees, well now he understands the science of food, so he can understand molecular gastronomy. But food replication is a whole new subject. That is the art of taking all the bad food that humans have been eating, and transforming that into something that is ecologically good, and good for your body.

SPOON: What got you into food replication?
CANTU: I’m an opportunist. Every job that I’ve had that dug me out of poverty was an opportunity to move up the ladder. Now I’m at a point where I don’t want to own 10,000 restaurants that just cook food. Now I want to make food that everyone can afford, all the while food that is healthy and delicious…What I want to do is give small operators the ability to open up something that is inexpensive in low-income communities that will compete with the junk food joints and ultimately make them obsolete.

Years ago, when a friend of Cantu was undergoing chemotherapy treatments for cancer, she complained to him about missing out on the taste of food. Chemo can confuse the taste buds and cause foods to taste like metal and rubber. She gave him a blank check and told him to find a solution. After months of research, the Chicago chef stumbled upon a patent from the 1990s involving what we know as the Miracle Berry. The berry is completely natural and safe, and the science behind it, simple. One of the properties in the berry, ‘miraculin, confuses taste buds to make neutral, savory or even sour flavors taste sweet.

According to Cantu, the berry has the potential to wipe out processed sugars from food products, and desserts served at iNG already incorporate the berry and are void of sugar. Chef Cantu led me through a demo with his patented Miracle Berry tablets. After letting the tablet dissolve on my tongue, I took a bite of a lemon, and it tasted like cotton candy. The lime tasted like orange sherbet. It was quite the experience that made me a believer in the berry.

The next step in Cantu’s mission comes in the form of a new coffee shop that welcomes guests with individual “coffee beans” at the door created from coffee and miracle berries. The goal? To make traditionally unhealthy items like doughnuts and smoothies into genuinely guilt-free options that still taste sweet and delicious.

SPOON: Tell us a little more about your new concept planned for next year.
CANTU: The whole idea here is “Berr-ista: Our Beans are Magic.” Let’s say you’re ordering the smallest smoothie from a place like Jamba Juice. That smoothie has around 200 calories from sugar. Ours will have zero with just fresh fruit and lemon juice or lime juice. When people go and get a smoothie, they think it’s healthy for them until you read the fine print. So here you can pick your smoothie, pick your herb and it’s blended on site. We will also offer sodas. They will taste like your classic soft drinks such as cola or root beer, and they will actually be good for you. We also see our jelly donut having a fraction of the amount of sugar as a competitor’s donut. At the end of the day, we’re trying to give you an experience that’s unique and answers bigger questions, but also tastes better than the competitor’s. That’s the most important part, it has to taste good.

SPOON: Where did this passion to create healthy alternatives come from?
CANTU: We grew up very poor. We were actually homeless and wandered from shelter to shelter for about three years. When you go to a homeless shelter, they usually give you the leftover food scraps. I grew up on junk food. As I got older, I started working in these really high end restaurants like Charlie Trotter’s. One of the biggest differences in living in the former and latter economic status is diet. If we can create economically accessible foods that are as healthy and nutritious as tasty, well then we got a win. That’s been my fascination with food over the last eight years.

Beyond his current coffee shop endeavors, Cantu also has a couple cookbooks under his belt that will bring his molecular gastronomic ideas into the average cook’s home.

SPOON: You’ve just inked a deal to write the moto Cookbook. Can you describe it?
CANTU: This will be the world’s first cookbook where you actually get a free television series online to accompany the book…The publishing world has really been challenged with technology. Everybody’s going away from print, and they’re going to digital. Books are going to have less and less value in the future because people want to watch videos…I am personally creating every audio track, and I edit every video for the cookbook, which has been really challenging.

SPOON: The moto Cookbook recreates moto dishes, which are extremely challenging in their nature. Will I be able to execute some of these in my small apartment kitchen?
CANTU: There are certain things we are going to change so readers and viewers can do it at home. By now people are familiar with sous-vide, and even to me, I don’t want to do that at home. I don’t want a $1,000 piece of equipment in my home kitchen, but we will show you how to do it with a Ziploc bag. Basically, you’ll see the moto version, then (for some dishes) you’ll see the analog version that allows you to try these at home. Here’s an example: carbonated fruit. I think carbonated fruit is completely fun. In the future this is going to be a groundbreaking product. At home, you may not have a fermentation vessel, so you take a balloon, put some grapes in it, blow up the balloon, and exhale CO2. Tie it off, and put it in your fridge. 24 hours later you’ve got carbonated grapes. Kids go nuts for that shit. There will be a lot of techniques in the book that simplify similar processes.

SPOON: How was the reception to ‘The Miracle Berry Diet Cookbook’?
CANTU: It depends on who you ask. I was at a conference, and the Chief Scientific Officer from Pepsi called it “a party trick.” And that’s okay. They don’t have the technology to put the berry in liquid yet. If they did, which is what we’re working on, then it definitely wouldn’t be a party trick. The important thing to keep in mind here is that the reason the Miracle Berry hasn’t gone commercial is because nobody has bothered to write recipes for it yet.

The post Behold, The Future is Here: An Interview with Chef Homaro Cantu appeared first on Spoon University.


Hungry Harvest Proves that Ugly Veggies are Yummy Veggies Too

By adding your email you agree to get updates about Spoon University Healthier

When you go grocery shopping what type of produce are you looking for? Is it bruised? Does it look disfigured? Probably not. You’re always trying to shop for the “pretty” fruits. Veggies that look like they just came from a Bon Appétit photo shoot. People are always rummaging through the produce section hoping to find picture perfect apples and nice looking carrots. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of the time, the ugly ducklings of the bunch get left behind and often go to waste. That’s where Hungry Harvest comes in to save the day.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

Think of them as the TOMS of the food world. Hungry Harvest supplies produce to subscribers through a delivery service at a fraction of the price compared to your traditional farmer’s market, and in return they donate some to families in need. They buy the unwanted produce from local farms and food distributors and save them from going to waste.

Hungry Harvest’s motto is: “We sell produce with a purpose.” Apart from selling produce at an affordable price, they are also helping our local DC/MD community in more ways than one.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

Currently, they are at around 400 paying members in the DC/MD area and have donated nearly 100,000 pounds of produce to the community since June 2014. Not only that, but they have also been able to create 6 part-time jobs for men from the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH).

Hungry Harvest is all about community and there’s no stopping them anytime soon. Spoon University-UMD had the chance to interview one of the co-founders of Hungry Harvest, John Zamora, in order to get the inside scoop about the company, and what they plan to do in the near future.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How did Hungry Harvest begin? Did you know you wanted to start it up while you were still at UMD?

JOHN: Hungry Harvest started out as the Recovered Food CSA. Our CEO, Evan Lutz, and co-founder, Ben Simon, had the initial vision of recovering “surplus” and “ugly” produce, and collectively started the Recovered Food CSA during the Spring semester of 2014. The Recovered Food CSA worked with the Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network to take food and sell it outside Stamp for $1 per pound. For every pound sold, they would donate one to a family in need.I was originally a customer of theirs, then I began volunteering with them, and now I’m one of the co-founders.

SPOON: What is Hungry Harvest’s goal?

JOHN: We have many goals. If I had to give an answer it would be to have operations set up in every major city in the country. When we get to that point, we’ll be making a big difference in recovering food from going to waste, fighting hunger and creating jobs for those trying to get back on their feet.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: In your own words, can you explain sustainability?

JOHN: At Hungry Harvest, sustainability is taking advantage of one problem to help solve another. So, we have this issue of food waste–6 billion pounds of produce goes to waste each year, and then we have this issue of hunger, which affects close to 50 million Americans each year. What Hungry Harvest does is that we recover food that may be going to waste for a number of reasons, and we sell it to paying members in the DC/MD area. For every pound of food we sell, we also donate a pound to a community member in need. We have also been able to partner up with the Montgomery County Men’s Coalition for the Homeless to help out guys that are trying to get back on their feet. Through this joint project we can provide these men with a well-paying job that they can feel good about. Hungry Harvest is sustainable in the sense that we are able to stop food waste, feed hungry people and create jobs all by selling “ugly” produce.

SPOON: What’s a typical day like working at Hungry Harvest?

JOHN: Well during the week we don’t have a typical day, which is nice. Our full-time team meets at our office in Columbia, MD about 3 times a week to work on any number of projects. Our CEO, Evan, loves to show up to the office early and make a checklist of what has to absolutely get done that day. Once that list is all done, we are usually brainstorming, reaching out to potential business partners or throwing around a football. On the weekends there’s a set schedule:

Saturday: Assembly Day

  • 9:30 am: Our team shows up to our shared warehouse space with Manna Food Center
  • 10:00 am: Our suppliers arrive to the warehouse with the produce for that week’s delivery
  • 10:00-11:00 am: The truck is unloaded and the assembly line is set up
  • 11:00am-2:00 pm: Bags are assembled
  • 2:00 pm-3:00 pm: Bags are refrigerated, everything is cleaned up and the warehouse is locked

Sunday: Delivery Day

  • 9:00 am: Operations Coordinators show up and begin separating bags for drivers
  • 10:00am-11:00am: Drivers show up, load up and begin their route
  • 11:00 am-4:00 pm: Drivers are out on their delivery routes

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How do you use your weekly produce?

JOHN: I live with another one of our full-time team members, Zach Nelkin, and we like to make “green” smoothies as often as possible—I can send you a recipe if you want. Also, we eat grilled chicken with vegetables just about every night, so there is never any produce going to waste.

SPOON: What do you typically eat for dinner?

JOHN: Grilled chicken with veggies.

SPOON: What’s a recipe that you just seem to go back to using your produce?

JOHN: Stir Fry. If there is anything left over from our bags we’ll cut it up and throw it into a stir-fry. I’m sure most people my age turn to the stir-fry method when in doubt.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How can students get involved?

JOHN: We are currently hiring about 7 summer interns, 10 part-time drivers and assembly volunteers. The internships and driving positions are PAID POSITIONS and there are postings on our website and Facebook Page. If you’re interested in applying you can shoot me an email at [email protected]. The best and easiest way students can get involved is by helping spread the word!

SPOON: What does the future hold for Hungry Harvest?

JOHN: There is a lot coming up in the near future. We are hoping to sign a deal with an investor, get our own warehouse and maybe buy some trucks or a van by the end of May. In a couple of weeks we will be making our first deliveries in Virginia to our partners over at MedStar in Arlington. If things go well we will begin home deliveries in Northern Virginia and plan on expanding to other areas of the state. Also, my cousin is making a pretty cool video for us, so be on the lookout for that!

Check out some other awesome interviews from the Spooniverse:


Hungry Harvest Proves that Ugly Veggies are Yummy Veggies Too

By adding your email you agree to get updates about Spoon University Healthier

When you go grocery shopping what type of produce are you looking for? Is it bruised? Does it look disfigured? Probably not. You’re always trying to shop for the “pretty” fruits. Veggies that look like they just came from a Bon Appétit photo shoot. People are always rummaging through the produce section hoping to find picture perfect apples and nice looking carrots. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of the time, the ugly ducklings of the bunch get left behind and often go to waste. That’s where Hungry Harvest comes in to save the day.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

Think of them as the TOMS of the food world. Hungry Harvest supplies produce to subscribers through a delivery service at a fraction of the price compared to your traditional farmer’s market, and in return they donate some to families in need. They buy the unwanted produce from local farms and food distributors and save them from going to waste.

Hungry Harvest’s motto is: “We sell produce with a purpose.” Apart from selling produce at an affordable price, they are also helping our local DC/MD community in more ways than one.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

Currently, they are at around 400 paying members in the DC/MD area and have donated nearly 100,000 pounds of produce to the community since June 2014. Not only that, but they have also been able to create 6 part-time jobs for men from the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH).

Hungry Harvest is all about community and there’s no stopping them anytime soon. Spoon University-UMD had the chance to interview one of the co-founders of Hungry Harvest, John Zamora, in order to get the inside scoop about the company, and what they plan to do in the near future.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How did Hungry Harvest begin? Did you know you wanted to start it up while you were still at UMD?

JOHN: Hungry Harvest started out as the Recovered Food CSA. Our CEO, Evan Lutz, and co-founder, Ben Simon, had the initial vision of recovering “surplus” and “ugly” produce, and collectively started the Recovered Food CSA during the Spring semester of 2014. The Recovered Food CSA worked with the Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network to take food and sell it outside Stamp for $1 per pound. For every pound sold, they would donate one to a family in need.I was originally a customer of theirs, then I began volunteering with them, and now I’m one of the co-founders.

SPOON: What is Hungry Harvest’s goal?

JOHN: We have many goals. If I had to give an answer it would be to have operations set up in every major city in the country. When we get to that point, we’ll be making a big difference in recovering food from going to waste, fighting hunger and creating jobs for those trying to get back on their feet.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: In your own words, can you explain sustainability?

JOHN: At Hungry Harvest, sustainability is taking advantage of one problem to help solve another. So, we have this issue of food waste–6 billion pounds of produce goes to waste each year, and then we have this issue of hunger, which affects close to 50 million Americans each year. What Hungry Harvest does is that we recover food that may be going to waste for a number of reasons, and we sell it to paying members in the DC/MD area. For every pound of food we sell, we also donate a pound to a community member in need. We have also been able to partner up with the Montgomery County Men’s Coalition for the Homeless to help out guys that are trying to get back on their feet. Through this joint project we can provide these men with a well-paying job that they can feel good about. Hungry Harvest is sustainable in the sense that we are able to stop food waste, feed hungry people and create jobs all by selling “ugly” produce.

SPOON: What’s a typical day like working at Hungry Harvest?

JOHN: Well during the week we don’t have a typical day, which is nice. Our full-time team meets at our office in Columbia, MD about 3 times a week to work on any number of projects. Our CEO, Evan, loves to show up to the office early and make a checklist of what has to absolutely get done that day. Once that list is all done, we are usually brainstorming, reaching out to potential business partners or throwing around a football. On the weekends there’s a set schedule:

Saturday: Assembly Day

  • 9:30 am: Our team shows up to our shared warehouse space with Manna Food Center
  • 10:00 am: Our suppliers arrive to the warehouse with the produce for that week’s delivery
  • 10:00-11:00 am: The truck is unloaded and the assembly line is set up
  • 11:00am-2:00 pm: Bags are assembled
  • 2:00 pm-3:00 pm: Bags are refrigerated, everything is cleaned up and the warehouse is locked

Sunday: Delivery Day

  • 9:00 am: Operations Coordinators show up and begin separating bags for drivers
  • 10:00am-11:00am: Drivers show up, load up and begin their route
  • 11:00 am-4:00 pm: Drivers are out on their delivery routes

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How do you use your weekly produce?

JOHN: I live with another one of our full-time team members, Zach Nelkin, and we like to make “green” smoothies as often as possible—I can send you a recipe if you want. Also, we eat grilled chicken with vegetables just about every night, so there is never any produce going to waste.

SPOON: What do you typically eat for dinner?

JOHN: Grilled chicken with veggies.

SPOON: What’s a recipe that you just seem to go back to using your produce?

JOHN: Stir Fry. If there is anything left over from our bags we’ll cut it up and throw it into a stir-fry. I’m sure most people my age turn to the stir-fry method when in doubt.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How can students get involved?

JOHN: We are currently hiring about 7 summer interns, 10 part-time drivers and assembly volunteers. The internships and driving positions are PAID POSITIONS and there are postings on our website and Facebook Page. If you’re interested in applying you can shoot me an email at [email protected]. The best and easiest way students can get involved is by helping spread the word!

SPOON: What does the future hold for Hungry Harvest?

JOHN: There is a lot coming up in the near future. We are hoping to sign a deal with an investor, get our own warehouse and maybe buy some trucks or a van by the end of May. In a couple of weeks we will be making our first deliveries in Virginia to our partners over at MedStar in Arlington. If things go well we will begin home deliveries in Northern Virginia and plan on expanding to other areas of the state. Also, my cousin is making a pretty cool video for us, so be on the lookout for that!

Check out some other awesome interviews from the Spooniverse:


Hungry Harvest Proves that Ugly Veggies are Yummy Veggies Too

By adding your email you agree to get updates about Spoon University Healthier

When you go grocery shopping what type of produce are you looking for? Is it bruised? Does it look disfigured? Probably not. You’re always trying to shop for the “pretty” fruits. Veggies that look like they just came from a Bon Appétit photo shoot. People are always rummaging through the produce section hoping to find picture perfect apples and nice looking carrots. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of the time, the ugly ducklings of the bunch get left behind and often go to waste. That’s where Hungry Harvest comes in to save the day.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

Think of them as the TOMS of the food world. Hungry Harvest supplies produce to subscribers through a delivery service at a fraction of the price compared to your traditional farmer’s market, and in return they donate some to families in need. They buy the unwanted produce from local farms and food distributors and save them from going to waste.

Hungry Harvest’s motto is: “We sell produce with a purpose.” Apart from selling produce at an affordable price, they are also helping our local DC/MD community in more ways than one.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

Currently, they are at around 400 paying members in the DC/MD area and have donated nearly 100,000 pounds of produce to the community since June 2014. Not only that, but they have also been able to create 6 part-time jobs for men from the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH).

Hungry Harvest is all about community and there’s no stopping them anytime soon. Spoon University-UMD had the chance to interview one of the co-founders of Hungry Harvest, John Zamora, in order to get the inside scoop about the company, and what they plan to do in the near future.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How did Hungry Harvest begin? Did you know you wanted to start it up while you were still at UMD?

JOHN: Hungry Harvest started out as the Recovered Food CSA. Our CEO, Evan Lutz, and co-founder, Ben Simon, had the initial vision of recovering “surplus” and “ugly” produce, and collectively started the Recovered Food CSA during the Spring semester of 2014. The Recovered Food CSA worked with the Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network to take food and sell it outside Stamp for $1 per pound. For every pound sold, they would donate one to a family in need.I was originally a customer of theirs, then I began volunteering with them, and now I’m one of the co-founders.

SPOON: What is Hungry Harvest’s goal?

JOHN: We have many goals. If I had to give an answer it would be to have operations set up in every major city in the country. When we get to that point, we’ll be making a big difference in recovering food from going to waste, fighting hunger and creating jobs for those trying to get back on their feet.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: In your own words, can you explain sustainability?

JOHN: At Hungry Harvest, sustainability is taking advantage of one problem to help solve another. So, we have this issue of food waste–6 billion pounds of produce goes to waste each year, and then we have this issue of hunger, which affects close to 50 million Americans each year. What Hungry Harvest does is that we recover food that may be going to waste for a number of reasons, and we sell it to paying members in the DC/MD area. For every pound of food we sell, we also donate a pound to a community member in need. We have also been able to partner up with the Montgomery County Men’s Coalition for the Homeless to help out guys that are trying to get back on their feet. Through this joint project we can provide these men with a well-paying job that they can feel good about. Hungry Harvest is sustainable in the sense that we are able to stop food waste, feed hungry people and create jobs all by selling “ugly” produce.

SPOON: What’s a typical day like working at Hungry Harvest?

JOHN: Well during the week we don’t have a typical day, which is nice. Our full-time team meets at our office in Columbia, MD about 3 times a week to work on any number of projects. Our CEO, Evan, loves to show up to the office early and make a checklist of what has to absolutely get done that day. Once that list is all done, we are usually brainstorming, reaching out to potential business partners or throwing around a football. On the weekends there’s a set schedule:

Saturday: Assembly Day

  • 9:30 am: Our team shows up to our shared warehouse space with Manna Food Center
  • 10:00 am: Our suppliers arrive to the warehouse with the produce for that week’s delivery
  • 10:00-11:00 am: The truck is unloaded and the assembly line is set up
  • 11:00am-2:00 pm: Bags are assembled
  • 2:00 pm-3:00 pm: Bags are refrigerated, everything is cleaned up and the warehouse is locked

Sunday: Delivery Day

  • 9:00 am: Operations Coordinators show up and begin separating bags for drivers
  • 10:00am-11:00am: Drivers show up, load up and begin their route
  • 11:00 am-4:00 pm: Drivers are out on their delivery routes

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How do you use your weekly produce?

JOHN: I live with another one of our full-time team members, Zach Nelkin, and we like to make “green” smoothies as often as possible—I can send you a recipe if you want. Also, we eat grilled chicken with vegetables just about every night, so there is never any produce going to waste.

SPOON: What do you typically eat for dinner?

JOHN: Grilled chicken with veggies.

SPOON: What’s a recipe that you just seem to go back to using your produce?

JOHN: Stir Fry. If there is anything left over from our bags we’ll cut it up and throw it into a stir-fry. I’m sure most people my age turn to the stir-fry method when in doubt.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How can students get involved?

JOHN: We are currently hiring about 7 summer interns, 10 part-time drivers and assembly volunteers. The internships and driving positions are PAID POSITIONS and there are postings on our website and Facebook Page. If you’re interested in applying you can shoot me an email at [email protected]. The best and easiest way students can get involved is by helping spread the word!

SPOON: What does the future hold for Hungry Harvest?

JOHN: There is a lot coming up in the near future. We are hoping to sign a deal with an investor, get our own warehouse and maybe buy some trucks or a van by the end of May. In a couple of weeks we will be making our first deliveries in Virginia to our partners over at MedStar in Arlington. If things go well we will begin home deliveries in Northern Virginia and plan on expanding to other areas of the state. Also, my cousin is making a pretty cool video for us, so be on the lookout for that!

Check out some other awesome interviews from the Spooniverse:


Hungry Harvest Proves that Ugly Veggies are Yummy Veggies Too

By adding your email you agree to get updates about Spoon University Healthier

When you go grocery shopping what type of produce are you looking for? Is it bruised? Does it look disfigured? Probably not. You’re always trying to shop for the “pretty” fruits. Veggies that look like they just came from a Bon Appétit photo shoot. People are always rummaging through the produce section hoping to find picture perfect apples and nice looking carrots. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of the time, the ugly ducklings of the bunch get left behind and often go to waste. That’s where Hungry Harvest comes in to save the day.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

Think of them as the TOMS of the food world. Hungry Harvest supplies produce to subscribers through a delivery service at a fraction of the price compared to your traditional farmer’s market, and in return they donate some to families in need. They buy the unwanted produce from local farms and food distributors and save them from going to waste.

Hungry Harvest’s motto is: “We sell produce with a purpose.” Apart from selling produce at an affordable price, they are also helping our local DC/MD community in more ways than one.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

Currently, they are at around 400 paying members in the DC/MD area and have donated nearly 100,000 pounds of produce to the community since June 2014. Not only that, but they have also been able to create 6 part-time jobs for men from the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH).

Hungry Harvest is all about community and there’s no stopping them anytime soon. Spoon University-UMD had the chance to interview one of the co-founders of Hungry Harvest, John Zamora, in order to get the inside scoop about the company, and what they plan to do in the near future.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How did Hungry Harvest begin? Did you know you wanted to start it up while you were still at UMD?

JOHN: Hungry Harvest started out as the Recovered Food CSA. Our CEO, Evan Lutz, and co-founder, Ben Simon, had the initial vision of recovering “surplus” and “ugly” produce, and collectively started the Recovered Food CSA during the Spring semester of 2014. The Recovered Food CSA worked with the Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network to take food and sell it outside Stamp for $1 per pound. For every pound sold, they would donate one to a family in need.I was originally a customer of theirs, then I began volunteering with them, and now I’m one of the co-founders.

SPOON: What is Hungry Harvest’s goal?

JOHN: We have many goals. If I had to give an answer it would be to have operations set up in every major city in the country. When we get to that point, we’ll be making a big difference in recovering food from going to waste, fighting hunger and creating jobs for those trying to get back on their feet.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: In your own words, can you explain sustainability?

JOHN: At Hungry Harvest, sustainability is taking advantage of one problem to help solve another. So, we have this issue of food waste–6 billion pounds of produce goes to waste each year, and then we have this issue of hunger, which affects close to 50 million Americans each year. What Hungry Harvest does is that we recover food that may be going to waste for a number of reasons, and we sell it to paying members in the DC/MD area. For every pound of food we sell, we also donate a pound to a community member in need. We have also been able to partner up with the Montgomery County Men’s Coalition for the Homeless to help out guys that are trying to get back on their feet. Through this joint project we can provide these men with a well-paying job that they can feel good about. Hungry Harvest is sustainable in the sense that we are able to stop food waste, feed hungry people and create jobs all by selling “ugly” produce.

SPOON: What’s a typical day like working at Hungry Harvest?

JOHN: Well during the week we don’t have a typical day, which is nice. Our full-time team meets at our office in Columbia, MD about 3 times a week to work on any number of projects. Our CEO, Evan, loves to show up to the office early and make a checklist of what has to absolutely get done that day. Once that list is all done, we are usually brainstorming, reaching out to potential business partners or throwing around a football. On the weekends there’s a set schedule:

Saturday: Assembly Day

  • 9:30 am: Our team shows up to our shared warehouse space with Manna Food Center
  • 10:00 am: Our suppliers arrive to the warehouse with the produce for that week’s delivery
  • 10:00-11:00 am: The truck is unloaded and the assembly line is set up
  • 11:00am-2:00 pm: Bags are assembled
  • 2:00 pm-3:00 pm: Bags are refrigerated, everything is cleaned up and the warehouse is locked

Sunday: Delivery Day

  • 9:00 am: Operations Coordinators show up and begin separating bags for drivers
  • 10:00am-11:00am: Drivers show up, load up and begin their route
  • 11:00 am-4:00 pm: Drivers are out on their delivery routes

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How do you use your weekly produce?

JOHN: I live with another one of our full-time team members, Zach Nelkin, and we like to make “green” smoothies as often as possible—I can send you a recipe if you want. Also, we eat grilled chicken with vegetables just about every night, so there is never any produce going to waste.

SPOON: What do you typically eat for dinner?

JOHN: Grilled chicken with veggies.

SPOON: What’s a recipe that you just seem to go back to using your produce?

JOHN: Stir Fry. If there is anything left over from our bags we’ll cut it up and throw it into a stir-fry. I’m sure most people my age turn to the stir-fry method when in doubt.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How can students get involved?

JOHN: We are currently hiring about 7 summer interns, 10 part-time drivers and assembly volunteers. The internships and driving positions are PAID POSITIONS and there are postings on our website and Facebook Page. If you’re interested in applying you can shoot me an email at [email protected]. The best and easiest way students can get involved is by helping spread the word!

SPOON: What does the future hold for Hungry Harvest?

JOHN: There is a lot coming up in the near future. We are hoping to sign a deal with an investor, get our own warehouse and maybe buy some trucks or a van by the end of May. In a couple of weeks we will be making our first deliveries in Virginia to our partners over at MedStar in Arlington. If things go well we will begin home deliveries in Northern Virginia and plan on expanding to other areas of the state. Also, my cousin is making a pretty cool video for us, so be on the lookout for that!

Check out some other awesome interviews from the Spooniverse:


Hungry Harvest Proves that Ugly Veggies are Yummy Veggies Too

By adding your email you agree to get updates about Spoon University Healthier

When you go grocery shopping what type of produce are you looking for? Is it bruised? Does it look disfigured? Probably not. You’re always trying to shop for the “pretty” fruits. Veggies that look like they just came from a Bon Appétit photo shoot. People are always rummaging through the produce section hoping to find picture perfect apples and nice looking carrots. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of the time, the ugly ducklings of the bunch get left behind and often go to waste. That’s where Hungry Harvest comes in to save the day.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

Think of them as the TOMS of the food world. Hungry Harvest supplies produce to subscribers through a delivery service at a fraction of the price compared to your traditional farmer’s market, and in return they donate some to families in need. They buy the unwanted produce from local farms and food distributors and save them from going to waste.

Hungry Harvest’s motto is: “We sell produce with a purpose.” Apart from selling produce at an affordable price, they are also helping our local DC/MD community in more ways than one.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

Currently, they are at around 400 paying members in the DC/MD area and have donated nearly 100,000 pounds of produce to the community since June 2014. Not only that, but they have also been able to create 6 part-time jobs for men from the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH).

Hungry Harvest is all about community and there’s no stopping them anytime soon. Spoon University-UMD had the chance to interview one of the co-founders of Hungry Harvest, John Zamora, in order to get the inside scoop about the company, and what they plan to do in the near future.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How did Hungry Harvest begin? Did you know you wanted to start it up while you were still at UMD?

JOHN: Hungry Harvest started out as the Recovered Food CSA. Our CEO, Evan Lutz, and co-founder, Ben Simon, had the initial vision of recovering “surplus” and “ugly” produce, and collectively started the Recovered Food CSA during the Spring semester of 2014. The Recovered Food CSA worked with the Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network to take food and sell it outside Stamp for $1 per pound. For every pound sold, they would donate one to a family in need.I was originally a customer of theirs, then I began volunteering with them, and now I’m one of the co-founders.

SPOON: What is Hungry Harvest’s goal?

JOHN: We have many goals. If I had to give an answer it would be to have operations set up in every major city in the country. When we get to that point, we’ll be making a big difference in recovering food from going to waste, fighting hunger and creating jobs for those trying to get back on their feet.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: In your own words, can you explain sustainability?

JOHN: At Hungry Harvest, sustainability is taking advantage of one problem to help solve another. So, we have this issue of food waste–6 billion pounds of produce goes to waste each year, and then we have this issue of hunger, which affects close to 50 million Americans each year. What Hungry Harvest does is that we recover food that may be going to waste for a number of reasons, and we sell it to paying members in the DC/MD area. For every pound of food we sell, we also donate a pound to a community member in need. We have also been able to partner up with the Montgomery County Men’s Coalition for the Homeless to help out guys that are trying to get back on their feet. Through this joint project we can provide these men with a well-paying job that they can feel good about. Hungry Harvest is sustainable in the sense that we are able to stop food waste, feed hungry people and create jobs all by selling “ugly” produce.

SPOON: What’s a typical day like working at Hungry Harvest?

JOHN: Well during the week we don’t have a typical day, which is nice. Our full-time team meets at our office in Columbia, MD about 3 times a week to work on any number of projects. Our CEO, Evan, loves to show up to the office early and make a checklist of what has to absolutely get done that day. Once that list is all done, we are usually brainstorming, reaching out to potential business partners or throwing around a football. On the weekends there’s a set schedule:

Saturday: Assembly Day

  • 9:30 am: Our team shows up to our shared warehouse space with Manna Food Center
  • 10:00 am: Our suppliers arrive to the warehouse with the produce for that week’s delivery
  • 10:00-11:00 am: The truck is unloaded and the assembly line is set up
  • 11:00am-2:00 pm: Bags are assembled
  • 2:00 pm-3:00 pm: Bags are refrigerated, everything is cleaned up and the warehouse is locked

Sunday: Delivery Day

  • 9:00 am: Operations Coordinators show up and begin separating bags for drivers
  • 10:00am-11:00am: Drivers show up, load up and begin their route
  • 11:00 am-4:00 pm: Drivers are out on their delivery routes

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How do you use your weekly produce?

JOHN: I live with another one of our full-time team members, Zach Nelkin, and we like to make “green” smoothies as often as possible—I can send you a recipe if you want. Also, we eat grilled chicken with vegetables just about every night, so there is never any produce going to waste.

SPOON: What do you typically eat for dinner?

JOHN: Grilled chicken with veggies.

SPOON: What’s a recipe that you just seem to go back to using your produce?

JOHN: Stir Fry. If there is anything left over from our bags we’ll cut it up and throw it into a stir-fry. I’m sure most people my age turn to the stir-fry method when in doubt.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How can students get involved?

JOHN: We are currently hiring about 7 summer interns, 10 part-time drivers and assembly volunteers. The internships and driving positions are PAID POSITIONS and there are postings on our website and Facebook Page. If you’re interested in applying you can shoot me an email at [email protected]. The best and easiest way students can get involved is by helping spread the word!

SPOON: What does the future hold for Hungry Harvest?

JOHN: There is a lot coming up in the near future. We are hoping to sign a deal with an investor, get our own warehouse and maybe buy some trucks or a van by the end of May. In a couple of weeks we will be making our first deliveries in Virginia to our partners over at MedStar in Arlington. If things go well we will begin home deliveries in Northern Virginia and plan on expanding to other areas of the state. Also, my cousin is making a pretty cool video for us, so be on the lookout for that!

Check out some other awesome interviews from the Spooniverse:


Hungry Harvest Proves that Ugly Veggies are Yummy Veggies Too

By adding your email you agree to get updates about Spoon University Healthier

When you go grocery shopping what type of produce are you looking for? Is it bruised? Does it look disfigured? Probably not. You’re always trying to shop for the “pretty” fruits. Veggies that look like they just came from a Bon Appétit photo shoot. People are always rummaging through the produce section hoping to find picture perfect apples and nice looking carrots. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of the time, the ugly ducklings of the bunch get left behind and often go to waste. That’s where Hungry Harvest comes in to save the day.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

Think of them as the TOMS of the food world. Hungry Harvest supplies produce to subscribers through a delivery service at a fraction of the price compared to your traditional farmer’s market, and in return they donate some to families in need. They buy the unwanted produce from local farms and food distributors and save them from going to waste.

Hungry Harvest’s motto is: “We sell produce with a purpose.” Apart from selling produce at an affordable price, they are also helping our local DC/MD community in more ways than one.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

Currently, they are at around 400 paying members in the DC/MD area and have donated nearly 100,000 pounds of produce to the community since June 2014. Not only that, but they have also been able to create 6 part-time jobs for men from the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH).

Hungry Harvest is all about community and there’s no stopping them anytime soon. Spoon University-UMD had the chance to interview one of the co-founders of Hungry Harvest, John Zamora, in order to get the inside scoop about the company, and what they plan to do in the near future.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How did Hungry Harvest begin? Did you know you wanted to start it up while you were still at UMD?

JOHN: Hungry Harvest started out as the Recovered Food CSA. Our CEO, Evan Lutz, and co-founder, Ben Simon, had the initial vision of recovering “surplus” and “ugly” produce, and collectively started the Recovered Food CSA during the Spring semester of 2014. The Recovered Food CSA worked with the Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network to take food and sell it outside Stamp for $1 per pound. For every pound sold, they would donate one to a family in need.I was originally a customer of theirs, then I began volunteering with them, and now I’m one of the co-founders.

SPOON: What is Hungry Harvest’s goal?

JOHN: We have many goals. If I had to give an answer it would be to have operations set up in every major city in the country. When we get to that point, we’ll be making a big difference in recovering food from going to waste, fighting hunger and creating jobs for those trying to get back on their feet.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: In your own words, can you explain sustainability?

JOHN: At Hungry Harvest, sustainability is taking advantage of one problem to help solve another. So, we have this issue of food waste–6 billion pounds of produce goes to waste each year, and then we have this issue of hunger, which affects close to 50 million Americans each year. What Hungry Harvest does is that we recover food that may be going to waste for a number of reasons, and we sell it to paying members in the DC/MD area. For every pound of food we sell, we also donate a pound to a community member in need. We have also been able to partner up with the Montgomery County Men’s Coalition for the Homeless to help out guys that are trying to get back on their feet. Through this joint project we can provide these men with a well-paying job that they can feel good about. Hungry Harvest is sustainable in the sense that we are able to stop food waste, feed hungry people and create jobs all by selling “ugly” produce.

SPOON: What’s a typical day like working at Hungry Harvest?

JOHN: Well during the week we don’t have a typical day, which is nice. Our full-time team meets at our office in Columbia, MD about 3 times a week to work on any number of projects. Our CEO, Evan, loves to show up to the office early and make a checklist of what has to absolutely get done that day. Once that list is all done, we are usually brainstorming, reaching out to potential business partners or throwing around a football. On the weekends there’s a set schedule:

Saturday: Assembly Day

  • 9:30 am: Our team shows up to our shared warehouse space with Manna Food Center
  • 10:00 am: Our suppliers arrive to the warehouse with the produce for that week’s delivery
  • 10:00-11:00 am: The truck is unloaded and the assembly line is set up
  • 11:00am-2:00 pm: Bags are assembled
  • 2:00 pm-3:00 pm: Bags are refrigerated, everything is cleaned up and the warehouse is locked

Sunday: Delivery Day

  • 9:00 am: Operations Coordinators show up and begin separating bags for drivers
  • 10:00am-11:00am: Drivers show up, load up and begin their route
  • 11:00 am-4:00 pm: Drivers are out on their delivery routes

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How do you use your weekly produce?

JOHN: I live with another one of our full-time team members, Zach Nelkin, and we like to make “green” smoothies as often as possible—I can send you a recipe if you want. Also, we eat grilled chicken with vegetables just about every night, so there is never any produce going to waste.

SPOON: What do you typically eat for dinner?

JOHN: Grilled chicken with veggies.

SPOON: What’s a recipe that you just seem to go back to using your produce?

JOHN: Stir Fry. If there is anything left over from our bags we’ll cut it up and throw it into a stir-fry. I’m sure most people my age turn to the stir-fry method when in doubt.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How can students get involved?

JOHN: We are currently hiring about 7 summer interns, 10 part-time drivers and assembly volunteers. The internships and driving positions are PAID POSITIONS and there are postings on our website and Facebook Page. If you’re interested in applying you can shoot me an email at [email protected]. The best and easiest way students can get involved is by helping spread the word!

SPOON: What does the future hold for Hungry Harvest?

JOHN: There is a lot coming up in the near future. We are hoping to sign a deal with an investor, get our own warehouse and maybe buy some trucks or a van by the end of May. In a couple of weeks we will be making our first deliveries in Virginia to our partners over at MedStar in Arlington. If things go well we will begin home deliveries in Northern Virginia and plan on expanding to other areas of the state. Also, my cousin is making a pretty cool video for us, so be on the lookout for that!

Check out some other awesome interviews from the Spooniverse:


Hungry Harvest Proves that Ugly Veggies are Yummy Veggies Too

By adding your email you agree to get updates about Spoon University Healthier

When you go grocery shopping what type of produce are you looking for? Is it bruised? Does it look disfigured? Probably not. You’re always trying to shop for the “pretty” fruits. Veggies that look like they just came from a Bon Appétit photo shoot. People are always rummaging through the produce section hoping to find picture perfect apples and nice looking carrots. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of the time, the ugly ducklings of the bunch get left behind and often go to waste. That’s where Hungry Harvest comes in to save the day.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

Think of them as the TOMS of the food world. Hungry Harvest supplies produce to subscribers through a delivery service at a fraction of the price compared to your traditional farmer’s market, and in return they donate some to families in need. They buy the unwanted produce from local farms and food distributors and save them from going to waste.

Hungry Harvest’s motto is: “We sell produce with a purpose.” Apart from selling produce at an affordable price, they are also helping our local DC/MD community in more ways than one.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

Currently, they are at around 400 paying members in the DC/MD area and have donated nearly 100,000 pounds of produce to the community since June 2014. Not only that, but they have also been able to create 6 part-time jobs for men from the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH).

Hungry Harvest is all about community and there’s no stopping them anytime soon. Spoon University-UMD had the chance to interview one of the co-founders of Hungry Harvest, John Zamora, in order to get the inside scoop about the company, and what they plan to do in the near future.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How did Hungry Harvest begin? Did you know you wanted to start it up while you were still at UMD?

JOHN: Hungry Harvest started out as the Recovered Food CSA. Our CEO, Evan Lutz, and co-founder, Ben Simon, had the initial vision of recovering “surplus” and “ugly” produce, and collectively started the Recovered Food CSA during the Spring semester of 2014. The Recovered Food CSA worked with the Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network to take food and sell it outside Stamp for $1 per pound. For every pound sold, they would donate one to a family in need.I was originally a customer of theirs, then I began volunteering with them, and now I’m one of the co-founders.

SPOON: What is Hungry Harvest’s goal?

JOHN: We have many goals. If I had to give an answer it would be to have operations set up in every major city in the country. When we get to that point, we’ll be making a big difference in recovering food from going to waste, fighting hunger and creating jobs for those trying to get back on their feet.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: In your own words, can you explain sustainability?

JOHN: At Hungry Harvest, sustainability is taking advantage of one problem to help solve another. So, we have this issue of food waste–6 billion pounds of produce goes to waste each year, and then we have this issue of hunger, which affects close to 50 million Americans each year. What Hungry Harvest does is that we recover food that may be going to waste for a number of reasons, and we sell it to paying members in the DC/MD area. For every pound of food we sell, we also donate a pound to a community member in need. We have also been able to partner up with the Montgomery County Men’s Coalition for the Homeless to help out guys that are trying to get back on their feet. Through this joint project we can provide these men with a well-paying job that they can feel good about. Hungry Harvest is sustainable in the sense that we are able to stop food waste, feed hungry people and create jobs all by selling “ugly” produce.

SPOON: What’s a typical day like working at Hungry Harvest?

JOHN: Well during the week we don’t have a typical day, which is nice. Our full-time team meets at our office in Columbia, MD about 3 times a week to work on any number of projects. Our CEO, Evan, loves to show up to the office early and make a checklist of what has to absolutely get done that day. Once that list is all done, we are usually brainstorming, reaching out to potential business partners or throwing around a football. On the weekends there’s a set schedule:

Saturday: Assembly Day

  • 9:30 am: Our team shows up to our shared warehouse space with Manna Food Center
  • 10:00 am: Our suppliers arrive to the warehouse with the produce for that week’s delivery
  • 10:00-11:00 am: The truck is unloaded and the assembly line is set up
  • 11:00am-2:00 pm: Bags are assembled
  • 2:00 pm-3:00 pm: Bags are refrigerated, everything is cleaned up and the warehouse is locked

Sunday: Delivery Day

  • 9:00 am: Operations Coordinators show up and begin separating bags for drivers
  • 10:00am-11:00am: Drivers show up, load up and begin their route
  • 11:00 am-4:00 pm: Drivers are out on their delivery routes

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How do you use your weekly produce?

JOHN: I live with another one of our full-time team members, Zach Nelkin, and we like to make “green” smoothies as often as possible—I can send you a recipe if you want. Also, we eat grilled chicken with vegetables just about every night, so there is never any produce going to waste.

SPOON: What do you typically eat for dinner?

JOHN: Grilled chicken with veggies.

SPOON: What’s a recipe that you just seem to go back to using your produce?

JOHN: Stir Fry. If there is anything left over from our bags we’ll cut it up and throw it into a stir-fry. I’m sure most people my age turn to the stir-fry method when in doubt.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How can students get involved?

JOHN: We are currently hiring about 7 summer interns, 10 part-time drivers and assembly volunteers. The internships and driving positions are PAID POSITIONS and there are postings on our website and Facebook Page. If you’re interested in applying you can shoot me an email at [email protected]. The best and easiest way students can get involved is by helping spread the word!

SPOON: What does the future hold for Hungry Harvest?

JOHN: There is a lot coming up in the near future. We are hoping to sign a deal with an investor, get our own warehouse and maybe buy some trucks or a van by the end of May. In a couple of weeks we will be making our first deliveries in Virginia to our partners over at MedStar in Arlington. If things go well we will begin home deliveries in Northern Virginia and plan on expanding to other areas of the state. Also, my cousin is making a pretty cool video for us, so be on the lookout for that!

Check out some other awesome interviews from the Spooniverse:


Hungry Harvest Proves that Ugly Veggies are Yummy Veggies Too

By adding your email you agree to get updates about Spoon University Healthier

When you go grocery shopping what type of produce are you looking for? Is it bruised? Does it look disfigured? Probably not. You’re always trying to shop for the “pretty” fruits. Veggies that look like they just came from a Bon Appétit photo shoot. People are always rummaging through the produce section hoping to find picture perfect apples and nice looking carrots. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of the time, the ugly ducklings of the bunch get left behind and often go to waste. That’s where Hungry Harvest comes in to save the day.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

Think of them as the TOMS of the food world. Hungry Harvest supplies produce to subscribers through a delivery service at a fraction of the price compared to your traditional farmer’s market, and in return they donate some to families in need. They buy the unwanted produce from local farms and food distributors and save them from going to waste.

Hungry Harvest’s motto is: “We sell produce with a purpose.” Apart from selling produce at an affordable price, they are also helping our local DC/MD community in more ways than one.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

Currently, they are at around 400 paying members in the DC/MD area and have donated nearly 100,000 pounds of produce to the community since June 2014. Not only that, but they have also been able to create 6 part-time jobs for men from the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH).

Hungry Harvest is all about community and there’s no stopping them anytime soon. Spoon University-UMD had the chance to interview one of the co-founders of Hungry Harvest, John Zamora, in order to get the inside scoop about the company, and what they plan to do in the near future.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How did Hungry Harvest begin? Did you know you wanted to start it up while you were still at UMD?

JOHN: Hungry Harvest started out as the Recovered Food CSA. Our CEO, Evan Lutz, and co-founder, Ben Simon, had the initial vision of recovering “surplus” and “ugly” produce, and collectively started the Recovered Food CSA during the Spring semester of 2014. The Recovered Food CSA worked with the Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network to take food and sell it outside Stamp for $1 per pound. For every pound sold, they would donate one to a family in need.I was originally a customer of theirs, then I began volunteering with them, and now I’m one of the co-founders.

SPOON: What is Hungry Harvest’s goal?

JOHN: We have many goals. If I had to give an answer it would be to have operations set up in every major city in the country. When we get to that point, we’ll be making a big difference in recovering food from going to waste, fighting hunger and creating jobs for those trying to get back on their feet.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: In your own words, can you explain sustainability?

JOHN: At Hungry Harvest, sustainability is taking advantage of one problem to help solve another. So, we have this issue of food waste–6 billion pounds of produce goes to waste each year, and then we have this issue of hunger, which affects close to 50 million Americans each year. What Hungry Harvest does is that we recover food that may be going to waste for a number of reasons, and we sell it to paying members in the DC/MD area. For every pound of food we sell, we also donate a pound to a community member in need. We have also been able to partner up with the Montgomery County Men’s Coalition for the Homeless to help out guys that are trying to get back on their feet. Through this joint project we can provide these men with a well-paying job that they can feel good about. Hungry Harvest is sustainable in the sense that we are able to stop food waste, feed hungry people and create jobs all by selling “ugly” produce.

SPOON: What’s a typical day like working at Hungry Harvest?

JOHN: Well during the week we don’t have a typical day, which is nice. Our full-time team meets at our office in Columbia, MD about 3 times a week to work on any number of projects. Our CEO, Evan, loves to show up to the office early and make a checklist of what has to absolutely get done that day. Once that list is all done, we are usually brainstorming, reaching out to potential business partners or throwing around a football. On the weekends there’s a set schedule:

Saturday: Assembly Day

  • 9:30 am: Our team shows up to our shared warehouse space with Manna Food Center
  • 10:00 am: Our suppliers arrive to the warehouse with the produce for that week’s delivery
  • 10:00-11:00 am: The truck is unloaded and the assembly line is set up
  • 11:00am-2:00 pm: Bags are assembled
  • 2:00 pm-3:00 pm: Bags are refrigerated, everything is cleaned up and the warehouse is locked

Sunday: Delivery Day

  • 9:00 am: Operations Coordinators show up and begin separating bags for drivers
  • 10:00am-11:00am: Drivers show up, load up and begin their route
  • 11:00 am-4:00 pm: Drivers are out on their delivery routes

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How do you use your weekly produce?

JOHN: I live with another one of our full-time team members, Zach Nelkin, and we like to make “green” smoothies as often as possible—I can send you a recipe if you want. Also, we eat grilled chicken with vegetables just about every night, so there is never any produce going to waste.

SPOON: What do you typically eat for dinner?

JOHN: Grilled chicken with veggies.

SPOON: What’s a recipe that you just seem to go back to using your produce?

JOHN: Stir Fry. If there is anything left over from our bags we’ll cut it up and throw it into a stir-fry. I’m sure most people my age turn to the stir-fry method when in doubt.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How can students get involved?

JOHN: We are currently hiring about 7 summer interns, 10 part-time drivers and assembly volunteers. The internships and driving positions are PAID POSITIONS and there are postings on our website and Facebook Page. If you’re interested in applying you can shoot me an email at [email protected]. The best and easiest way students can get involved is by helping spread the word!

SPOON: What does the future hold for Hungry Harvest?

JOHN: There is a lot coming up in the near future. We are hoping to sign a deal with an investor, get our own warehouse and maybe buy some trucks or a van by the end of May. In a couple of weeks we will be making our first deliveries in Virginia to our partners over at MedStar in Arlington. If things go well we will begin home deliveries in Northern Virginia and plan on expanding to other areas of the state. Also, my cousin is making a pretty cool video for us, so be on the lookout for that!

Check out some other awesome interviews from the Spooniverse:


Hungry Harvest Proves that Ugly Veggies are Yummy Veggies Too

By adding your email you agree to get updates about Spoon University Healthier

When you go grocery shopping what type of produce are you looking for? Is it bruised? Does it look disfigured? Probably not. You’re always trying to shop for the “pretty” fruits. Veggies that look like they just came from a Bon Appétit photo shoot. People are always rummaging through the produce section hoping to find picture perfect apples and nice looking carrots. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of the time, the ugly ducklings of the bunch get left behind and often go to waste. That’s where Hungry Harvest comes in to save the day.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

Think of them as the TOMS of the food world. Hungry Harvest supplies produce to subscribers through a delivery service at a fraction of the price compared to your traditional farmer’s market, and in return they donate some to families in need. They buy the unwanted produce from local farms and food distributors and save them from going to waste.

Hungry Harvest’s motto is: “We sell produce with a purpose.” Apart from selling produce at an affordable price, they are also helping our local DC/MD community in more ways than one.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

Currently, they are at around 400 paying members in the DC/MD area and have donated nearly 100,000 pounds of produce to the community since June 2014. Not only that, but they have also been able to create 6 part-time jobs for men from the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH).

Hungry Harvest is all about community and there’s no stopping them anytime soon. Spoon University-UMD had the chance to interview one of the co-founders of Hungry Harvest, John Zamora, in order to get the inside scoop about the company, and what they plan to do in the near future.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How did Hungry Harvest begin? Did you know you wanted to start it up while you were still at UMD?

JOHN: Hungry Harvest started out as the Recovered Food CSA. Our CEO, Evan Lutz, and co-founder, Ben Simon, had the initial vision of recovering “surplus” and “ugly” produce, and collectively started the Recovered Food CSA during the Spring semester of 2014. The Recovered Food CSA worked with the Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network to take food and sell it outside Stamp for $1 per pound. For every pound sold, they would donate one to a family in need.I was originally a customer of theirs, then I began volunteering with them, and now I’m one of the co-founders.

SPOON: What is Hungry Harvest’s goal?

JOHN: We have many goals. If I had to give an answer it would be to have operations set up in every major city in the country. When we get to that point, we’ll be making a big difference in recovering food from going to waste, fighting hunger and creating jobs for those trying to get back on their feet.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: In your own words, can you explain sustainability?

JOHN: At Hungry Harvest, sustainability is taking advantage of one problem to help solve another. So, we have this issue of food waste–6 billion pounds of produce goes to waste each year, and then we have this issue of hunger, which affects close to 50 million Americans each year. What Hungry Harvest does is that we recover food that may be going to waste for a number of reasons, and we sell it to paying members in the DC/MD area. For every pound of food we sell, we also donate a pound to a community member in need. We have also been able to partner up with the Montgomery County Men’s Coalition for the Homeless to help out guys that are trying to get back on their feet. Through this joint project we can provide these men with a well-paying job that they can feel good about. Hungry Harvest is sustainable in the sense that we are able to stop food waste, feed hungry people and create jobs all by selling “ugly” produce.

SPOON: What’s a typical day like working at Hungry Harvest?

JOHN: Well during the week we don’t have a typical day, which is nice. Our full-time team meets at our office in Columbia, MD about 3 times a week to work on any number of projects. Our CEO, Evan, loves to show up to the office early and make a checklist of what has to absolutely get done that day. Once that list is all done, we are usually brainstorming, reaching out to potential business partners or throwing around a football. On the weekends there’s a set schedule:

Saturday: Assembly Day

  • 9:30 am: Our team shows up to our shared warehouse space with Manna Food Center
  • 10:00 am: Our suppliers arrive to the warehouse with the produce for that week’s delivery
  • 10:00-11:00 am: The truck is unloaded and the assembly line is set up
  • 11:00am-2:00 pm: Bags are assembled
  • 2:00 pm-3:00 pm: Bags are refrigerated, everything is cleaned up and the warehouse is locked

Sunday: Delivery Day

  • 9:00 am: Operations Coordinators show up and begin separating bags for drivers
  • 10:00am-11:00am: Drivers show up, load up and begin their route
  • 11:00 am-4:00 pm: Drivers are out on their delivery routes

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How do you use your weekly produce?

JOHN: I live with another one of our full-time team members, Zach Nelkin, and we like to make “green” smoothies as often as possible—I can send you a recipe if you want. Also, we eat grilled chicken with vegetables just about every night, so there is never any produce going to waste.

SPOON: What do you typically eat for dinner?

JOHN: Grilled chicken with veggies.

SPOON: What’s a recipe that you just seem to go back to using your produce?

JOHN: Stir Fry. If there is anything left over from our bags we’ll cut it up and throw it into a stir-fry. I’m sure most people my age turn to the stir-fry method when in doubt.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How can students get involved?

JOHN: We are currently hiring about 7 summer interns, 10 part-time drivers and assembly volunteers. The internships and driving positions are PAID POSITIONS and there are postings on our website and Facebook Page. If you’re interested in applying you can shoot me an email at [email protected]. The best and easiest way students can get involved is by helping spread the word!

SPOON: What does the future hold for Hungry Harvest?

JOHN: There is a lot coming up in the near future. We are hoping to sign a deal with an investor, get our own warehouse and maybe buy some trucks or a van by the end of May. In a couple of weeks we will be making our first deliveries in Virginia to our partners over at MedStar in Arlington. If things go well we will begin home deliveries in Northern Virginia and plan on expanding to other areas of the state. Also, my cousin is making a pretty cool video for us, so be on the lookout for that!

Check out some other awesome interviews from the Spooniverse:


Hungry Harvest Proves that Ugly Veggies are Yummy Veggies Too

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When you go grocery shopping what type of produce are you looking for? Is it bruised? Does it look disfigured? Probably not. You’re always trying to shop for the “pretty” fruits. Veggies that look like they just came from a Bon Appétit photo shoot. People are always rummaging through the produce section hoping to find picture perfect apples and nice looking carrots. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of the time, the ugly ducklings of the bunch get left behind and often go to waste. That’s where Hungry Harvest comes in to save the day.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

Think of them as the TOMS of the food world. Hungry Harvest supplies produce to subscribers through a delivery service at a fraction of the price compared to your traditional farmer’s market, and in return they donate some to families in need. They buy the unwanted produce from local farms and food distributors and save them from going to waste.

Hungry Harvest’s motto is: “We sell produce with a purpose.” Apart from selling produce at an affordable price, they are also helping our local DC/MD community in more ways than one.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

Currently, they are at around 400 paying members in the DC/MD area and have donated nearly 100,000 pounds of produce to the community since June 2014. Not only that, but they have also been able to create 6 part-time jobs for men from the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH).

Hungry Harvest is all about community and there’s no stopping them anytime soon. Spoon University-UMD had the chance to interview one of the co-founders of Hungry Harvest, John Zamora, in order to get the inside scoop about the company, and what they plan to do in the near future.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How did Hungry Harvest begin? Did you know you wanted to start it up while you were still at UMD?

JOHN: Hungry Harvest started out as the Recovered Food CSA. Our CEO, Evan Lutz, and co-founder, Ben Simon, had the initial vision of recovering “surplus” and “ugly” produce, and collectively started the Recovered Food CSA during the Spring semester of 2014. The Recovered Food CSA worked with the Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network to take food and sell it outside Stamp for $1 per pound. For every pound sold, they would donate one to a family in need.I was originally a customer of theirs, then I began volunteering with them, and now I’m one of the co-founders.

SPOON: What is Hungry Harvest’s goal?

JOHN: We have many goals. If I had to give an answer it would be to have operations set up in every major city in the country. When we get to that point, we’ll be making a big difference in recovering food from going to waste, fighting hunger and creating jobs for those trying to get back on their feet.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: In your own words, can you explain sustainability?

JOHN: At Hungry Harvest, sustainability is taking advantage of one problem to help solve another. So, we have this issue of food waste–6 billion pounds of produce goes to waste each year, and then we have this issue of hunger, which affects close to 50 million Americans each year. What Hungry Harvest does is that we recover food that may be going to waste for a number of reasons, and we sell it to paying members in the DC/MD area. For every pound of food we sell, we also donate a pound to a community member in need. We have also been able to partner up with the Montgomery County Men’s Coalition for the Homeless to help out guys that are trying to get back on their feet. Through this joint project we can provide these men with a well-paying job that they can feel good about. Hungry Harvest is sustainable in the sense that we are able to stop food waste, feed hungry people and create jobs all by selling “ugly” produce.

SPOON: What’s a typical day like working at Hungry Harvest?

JOHN: Well during the week we don’t have a typical day, which is nice. Our full-time team meets at our office in Columbia, MD about 3 times a week to work on any number of projects. Our CEO, Evan, loves to show up to the office early and make a checklist of what has to absolutely get done that day. Once that list is all done, we are usually brainstorming, reaching out to potential business partners or throwing around a football. On the weekends there’s a set schedule:

Saturday: Assembly Day

  • 9:30 am: Our team shows up to our shared warehouse space with Manna Food Center
  • 10:00 am: Our suppliers arrive to the warehouse with the produce for that week’s delivery
  • 10:00-11:00 am: The truck is unloaded and the assembly line is set up
  • 11:00am-2:00 pm: Bags are assembled
  • 2:00 pm-3:00 pm: Bags are refrigerated, everything is cleaned up and the warehouse is locked

Sunday: Delivery Day

  • 9:00 am: Operations Coordinators show up and begin separating bags for drivers
  • 10:00am-11:00am: Drivers show up, load up and begin their route
  • 11:00 am-4:00 pm: Drivers are out on their delivery routes

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How do you use your weekly produce?

JOHN: I live with another one of our full-time team members, Zach Nelkin, and we like to make “green” smoothies as often as possible—I can send you a recipe if you want. Also, we eat grilled chicken with vegetables just about every night, so there is never any produce going to waste.

SPOON: What do you typically eat for dinner?

JOHN: Grilled chicken with veggies.

SPOON: What’s a recipe that you just seem to go back to using your produce?

JOHN: Stir Fry. If there is anything left over from our bags we’ll cut it up and throw it into a stir-fry. I’m sure most people my age turn to the stir-fry method when in doubt.

Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

SPOON: How can students get involved?

JOHN: We are currently hiring about 7 summer interns, 10 part-time drivers and assembly volunteers. The internships and driving positions are PAID POSITIONS and there are postings on our website and Facebook Page. If you’re interested in applying you can shoot me an email at [email protected]. The best and easiest way students can get involved is by helping spread the word!

SPOON: What does the future hold for Hungry Harvest?

JOHN: There is a lot coming up in the near future. We are hoping to sign a deal with an investor, get our own warehouse and maybe buy some trucks or a van by the end of May. In a couple of weeks we will be making our first deliveries in Virginia to our partners over at MedStar in Arlington. If things go well we will begin home deliveries in Northern Virginia and plan on expanding to other areas of the state. Also, my cousin is making a pretty cool video for us, so be on the lookout for that!

Check out some other awesome interviews from the Spooniverse:


Watch the video: homaro cantu (December 2021).