Farmer’s Fridge is a Chicago-based food company that’s aiming to “make access to healthy, delicious food the rule, not the exception.” Founded by Luke Saunders, Farmer’s Fridge handcrafts fresh salads and delivers them to vending machines. Or, as Saunders calls them, “veggie machines.” A self-professed health nut with a slight obsession with the food industry, he found it difficult to eat healthy when he was traveling a lot for work and began thinking about ways to change that. And so Farmer’s Fridge was born.

nb-farmersfridgeThe small but growing company’s big idea is to “make slow food, available fast.” Delivering “a fresh take on fresh,” the Farmer’s Fridge team makes everything from scratch each morning and delivers the salads daily to its kiosks at the Garvey Food Court and Lake Forest Tollway Oasis. Using as many local and organic ingredients as possible, Farmer’s Fridge salads are kept simple and balanced for the greatest taste and nutritional benefit. After researching which ingredients promote the health benefits they want from each recipe, the team experiments with different textures and tastes until the “salad sweet spot” is found. Developed with a lot of trial and error, Farmer’s Fridge salads are delicious, nutrient dense, and offer plenty of variety. They also come in 100 percent recyclable jars that make it easy to eat while on the go.

The eco-friendliness of Farmer’s Fridge doesn’t stop at the jars. All of the bags, utensils, utensil packaging, and salad dressing containers are made from biodegradable corn-based PLA material, while the napkins are 100 percent recycled paper. The kiosk itself is made from reclaimed barn wood, offers on-site recycling, and consumes just under $10 worth of electricity each month. It’s very user-friendly, too, with touch screens, bar code scanners for coupons, email receipts, and product images and information in a large and easy-to-read format.

Farmer’s Fridge will soon be launching more machines around the Chicago metropolitan area.