From Erin

Farm-Fresh Salads … in a Vending Machine?

It’s been a long while since I’ve worked in an office. The kind of office that isn’t in my house, that I had to actually get dressed and commute to spend all day in a cubicle. But I vividly remember those cubicle-induced 3 p.m. lulls. The kind that would either have me hitting the coffee pot or the vending machine for a pick-me-up. Vending machines are not known for their healthy fare, but that’s changing. Because now you can buy salads from a vending machine.

That’s right. I said salads. From a vending machine.

What, a vending machine salad doesn’t sound appealing? It reminds you of a hospital cafeteria or a salad bar with wilted lettuce and stale croutons? Maybe this picture will change your mind:

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Way more appealing, right? That’s because there’s a new vending machine in town. Well, in Chicago, anyway. And it’s called Farmer’s Fridge. Farmer’s Fridge is a vending machine that offers healthy and delicious (looking — we haven’t tried them yet!) salads and snacks that are prepared fresh daily. The FF peeps make everything from scratch daily and deliver the items to the machine at 10 a.m. — just in time for the lunch rush. (Unsold salads from the day are discounted by $1 at 6 p.m., and those that aren’t sold are donated to a food pantry the next day.)

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Dude, these Farmer’s Fridge salads make me smile, too.

Salads start at $8 with a weekly special “Jar Du Jour” for $7. All salads can be paired with proteins for $2 and salmon for $4. Snacks are $4.25. You’re getting really good stuff for that price, too. Selections are composed of high-quality, nutrient-dense ingredients selected to provide the whole grains, fruits, vegetables, quality proteins and healthy fats needed for lasting fullness.

The salads and snacks are packaged in plastic recyclable mason-like jars, and are kept at the perfect temperature, so no too-warm wilty salad or frosty lettuce leaves. The kiosk accepts major credit cards, and you can get emailed receipts. Plus, you can buy multiple items at once. So if you want a salad for now and a healthy snack for later, you’re covered. Plus, these salads are fun — like the Cheater Salad that includes egg, white cheddar, sunflower seeds, roasted corn and turkey bacon — and sound delish. Or the Sushi Salad, with mango, brown rice, seaweed and edamame with a Japanese ginger dressing. The proteins include poached salmon, lemon pepper chicken, tuna salad and baked tofu. Not your standard drive-thru salad!

More of these kiosks should be hitting the Chicago area soon — but we’re hoping these spread far and wide!

Would you buy a salad like this from a vending machine? Does the price seem reasonable for a quick lunch? —Erin



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