Cultivating Beauty in Imperfection: A Farmer's Ugly Journey
The Ugly Company was founded by Ben Moore, a fourth-generation farmer from the Central Valley of California.
Our story begins on the seat of a tractor in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley of California. As a kid, our Founder Ben Moore “Big Ugly,” would ride around the farm with his father looking forward to the day he'd have a farm of his own. After going to college and serving in the Army, Ben returned home excited to begin his life as a
farmer. What he found was a farming landscape vastly different than his childhood.
After years of consolidation, family farms were a dying breed and the ones still around were struggling to make ends meet - his family's farm was no different.
Ugly Co. Founder
Since a career in farming wasn’t an option, Ben took to the road and began trucking for a living. He hauled everything from bulldozers to dirt, but his most consistent hauls were taking discarded fruit from packing houses and dumping them in open fields. As time passed, Ben started thinking deeply about what he was doing. How could we be dumping this much fresh, delicious fruit, when there are so many people that could enjoy it? He knew there had to be a better way and became determined to figure it out.
Irrigating the Idea
With a new determination to save funny looking fruit, Ben created a list of 200
potential uses for it. He was inspired to select dried fruit after recalling his grandma’s delicious roof-dried fruit from his childhood. She would make tasty treats for the family by picking the fruit left behind in the field, slicing it, then drying it on her rooftop. As we all know, Grandma knows best.
With a product in hand, Ben’s next step was creating a brand. The name "Ugly"
immediately stood out. He believed that by putting a word commonly thought of
negative in a positive light, he would get people to pause and want to learn more.
Ben aimed to convey that "Ugly" fruit, despite its appearance, was just as delicious
as a perfect piece of fruit. He accomplished this by putting the product in beautiful, colorful packaging that made people stop and think, “That’s not Ugly.” When people learn the true meaning of "Ugly," it reminded them to never judge a fruit by its cover.
Original Package Concepts
Ben’s next test was getting the brand into stores. Each day he would travel around
California telling his story and sampling the product with anyone that would listen.
After months of this routine the first big breakthrough happened – he earned
distribution in 54 Whole Foods locations
After Whole Foods, the brand gained momentum and other retail chains like Sprouts, REI, and Hy-Vee jumped on-board.
*Fun Fact* With limited time, the team punched 18,000 Ugly bags by hand in one weekend.
Planting our Roots
Fast forward to today, The Ugly Company has set up shop in the beautiful town of
Farmersville and built a state of the art facility specifically designed to process
"Ugly" fruit. Not bad for a truck driver that liked eating the peaches out of the back
of his truck.