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Get Fast, Healthy Food At Farmer's Fridge

By Anthony Todd in Food on Dec 5, 2013 5:30PM

The inside of the Farmer's Fridge and the "Cheater," made with turkey bacon, white cheddar, sunflower seeds, corn, hard boiled egg, grape tomato and cucumber.

Vending machines are usually filled with candy bars, chips, pretzels and soda. If you're really lucky, you might find some coffee or an apple that's been sitting on one of those plastic turntables for a few weeks. Luckily, Farmer's Fridge, a new startup that brings healthy food to custom-made vending machines is trying to change all of that.

Founder and inventor, Luke Saunders, was inspired to create Farmer's Fridge while he was working a job that required a lot of travel. "There were never any fast, healthy options," Saunders explained. "I was leaving the gym one day and there was some healthy food in my fridge and I thought, if this was more accessible, I'd buy it all the time."

The first location of the Farmer's Fridge is at the Garvey Food Court at 201 N. Clark Street. Unlike a traditional vending machine, Farmer's Fridge serves a full menu of salads and snacks. The salads are specially made so that they can remain fresh in the machine and are rotated out every 24 hours. Plus, they're much fresher than your average pre-made salad. "Most of the pre-made salads out there are way older than 24 hours," explained Saunders. "They're made in a large commercial kitchen and between transportation and shelf time, they're out for a week. They use pre-cut lettuce. We're so much fresher to begin with." To maximize freshness, the salads are built in jars in layers. "We definitely looked closely at this," said Saunders.

Any food that isn't sold at the end of the day is donated to a local homeless shelter. In addition to the salads, which are packed with fruits, vegetables, nuts and other ingredients, they offer proteins to add on top and a wide selection of drinks. Best of all for the working professional, after 6 p.m., everything in the machine is $1 off—just enter the code "after6." If you're staying late at the office and don't want junk food, this might be just the thing.

In the future as Farmer's Fridge grows, Saunders wants to add more dishes, including soups. Currently you can bring back the jars for recycling, but eventually he wants to add incentives for frequent customers. Check out the menu and their backstory to learn more.