There’s something about going to an orchard and picking your own fruit. The breeze in your hair, the sun on your skin, and the smell of ripe fruit permeating your nostrils. What isn’t felt is the thousands of pounds of fruit wasted due to bruising, over-ripening, or the untrained consumers’ eyes. It was during such a trip that Elizabeth Bennett, founder of Fruitcycle, conceived her business…recycling fruit before it became food waste.
Before you say, “That’s already been done before!”–you’re right–but not quite like this. Food waste is an extremely important topic. One that’s recently been tackled by news sources such as National Geographic, NPR, and the New York Times. If you’re not particularly worried, perhaps you should be, as the EPA states, “When food is disposed in a landfill, it rots and becomes a significant source of methane–a potent greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.” Greenhouse emissions, anyone?
But why apple chips? Two reasons. Peaches quickly go out of season but apples don’t. Additionally, three of the top producing apple states are in close proximity to DC. Before she launched Fruitcycle, Bennett perused Whole Foods to research the competition and found that most apple chips came from all over the world, some from multiple countries per package. “I wanted people to know that they could purchase healthy, dehydrated snacks such as apple chips, from regionally-sourced farms right here in the Mid-Atlantic,” says Bennett. Fruitcycle lists not only the name of the farm but also the state from which the apples originate. Since October, Fruitcycle has rescued 5,563 pounds of orphaned apples.
With a Master’s in Anthropology of Food from the University of London, Bennett is concerned about the quality, processing, and shelf life of produce, which is ever important in today’s food-conscious society. Her products have no added sugars, fat, or artificial ingredients. They’re paleo-friendly as well as gluten, dairy, and nut-free. The dream finally became a reality when Fruitcycle was named finalist and Audience Favorite in Mess Hall’s Launchpad competition in September 2014.
Where can you find Fruitcycle’s products? Online or at some of our favorite local food retailers:
- Chevy Chase Supermarket (Chevy Chase, MD)
- Each Peach Market (Mt. Pleasant, DC)
- Glen’s Garden Market (Dupont Circle, DC)
- Hometown Harvest (Offering Delivery to DC, MD, VA)
- Little Red Fox (Northwest, DC)
- Pleasant Pops (Adams Morgan, DC)
- The Market at River Falls (Potomac, MD)
- Radici Market (Eastern Market, DC)
- Sticky Fingers Bakery (Columbia Heights, DC)
Jai is a culinary/travel photographer, author whose photography has been seen in publications such as Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Munchies (VICE), and Ad Week. Jai has been with GMF since 2014 is the former GMF Editor-in-Chief. She has photographed for both domestic and international tourism boards. Additionally, her work was selected as a semi-finalist in competitions such as Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s RAMMYs in Focus, and The Historical Society of D.C.’s For the Record. Contributing her photography to books like New York One-Food Wonders and Discovering Vintage Washington, DC, Jai’s creative spirit focuses on the food, beverage, and travel industries. Co-authoring Plantations of Virginia with six-time New York Press Club award winner Charlene C. Giannetti, their book is currently in its third printing within a year of being released. Jai enjoys collaborating with her clients to bring their vision to life.