Ugly fruit and vegetables are coming to Downtown — a win for the environment, for local farmers and for Pittsburgh.

412 Food Rescue’s UglyCSA program has expanded to offer 250 shares this year — that’s 250 individuals or families that will sign on to get a box of fresh produce each week all summer. And through a collaboration with the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, customers will be able to pick up their UglyCSA shares at PG&H, the locally-produced home goods store on Smithfield Street.

The goal is to “provide a convenient way for Downtown residents and workers to receive fresh, locally-grown produce every week, in addition to events like the Market Square Farmers Market,” according to an announcement about UglyCSA’s expansion.

“At PG&H, Pittsburghers have access to a unique home goods and retail shop that supports local artists, hosts workshops and offers another venue that supports a vibrant retail environment in Downtown. We’re proud to be further utilizing this creative space to support the mission of 412 Food Rescue while also giving Downtown residents and workers a convenient way to source their weekly produce,” said Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, in an announcement about the program.

Launched in 2016, the program is a partnership between 412 Food Rescue and the local farmers’ cooperative Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance. Local farmers would normally have to throw away fruits and vegetables deemed too unattractive to sell, which means the water and labor that went into growing the food was wasted.

This farm share puts ugly-but-delicious produce in the spotlight, and Pittsburghers have embraced it: 412 Food Rescue estimates that last year more than 200 UglyCSA subscribers collectively saved 451,280 gallons of water from going to waste, the equivalent to enough drinking water for 2,473 people for an entire year.

The 12-week program, which runs July 17 through October 2, still has a few shares available. For $240, participants can pick up a box of assorted produce every Wednesday, and SNAP and EBT benefits are accepted. Along with the new Downtown pickup site, subscribers can get their box of produce in East Liberty, Millvale, Greenfield, Mt. Lebanon, Lawrenceville,  Wilkinsburg and the North Side.

Local farms and food producers participating this year include Blackberry Meadows Farm, Pisarcik Greenhouses and Flower Farm and Mediterra Bakehouse.

Click here to get details and register.

“Partnering with the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and hosting our first UglyCSA pickup at PG&H is a perfect tie-in for 412 Food Rescue,” said Hana Uman, Program Director at 412 Food Rescue. “We know that our UglyCSA subscribers want to support and shop local, and any way that we can enhance this through our programming is a win.”

Kidsburgh Editor Melissa Rayworth specializes in stories about culture, gender, design and parenting. She has written for a variety of outlets in the U.S. and Asia, and is a frequent contributor to The Associated Press. Find a selection of her work at