Bremer Produce planted more than 15 varieties of sunflowers on their
grandfather's farm, located in Ottawa County off of 48th Avenue in
Hudsonville. The brothers estimate they'll have over 120,000 flowers
by the end of this season, four times more than last year.
The Bremers are no novices to farming. For their day job, they work
at a West Michigan farm where they focus on selling imperfect produce
and reducing food waste.
"My first year I started working on the farm, I noticed so much
food waste. It's really common across the agriculture industry to have
to discard less than perfect product. The volume of product being
thrown away is really astounding," said Jordan, '13.
Imperfect produce is defined as food items that don't meet standards
of size, shape or appearance. The Bremers noted this produce may not
meet standards of grocery stores or distributors and are often thrown
away, but most are perfectly edible.
After realizing how much produce was being wasted, the brothers
launched a small roadside stand to sell the imperfect items. As
interest grew, they've been able to expand to partnering with farms
across the country.
Some of the imperfect produce is utilized in various box meal
delivery services, and more damaged items are sent to farms as animal feed.
Ross said that annually, millions of pounds of imperfect produce from
their farm are saved from going to waste through these practices.
"The awareness is growing. People are becoming more educated
about not having to have a perfectly shaped pepper or carrot every
single time. It all tastes the same, and I'm hoping that more
companies embrace using this imperfect produce in the future,"