Farmer’s Fridge is a company in Chicago that sells salads in vending machines. It packs the salads in jars (dressing in its own packet) early in the morning, delivers to a fleet of vending machines, and moves all its product within 3 days.

The salads are made from high-end ingredients like blueberries, kale, fennel, and pineapple. Each one comes out in a plastic mason jar, its elements all glistening in neat layers, the way fossils might look if the Earth had been created by meticulous vegans.

The salad machine is the invention of 28-year-old entrepreneur Luke Saunders, who launched his company, Farmer’s Fridge, a year ago at a nearby warehouse. His goal is to offer workers a fast, healthy lunch option in areas where there’s a dearth of restaurants. Instead of popping into McDonald’s out of desperation, they can simply grab salads from their buildings’ lobbies and eat them back at their desks. —The Dreadful Inconvenience of Salad

It’s a great idea! But if you’re like me, the closest Farmer’s Fridge is about 700 miles away (or further). Good news: This is something you can do on your own, and can even make ahead for a few days at a time.

It works best with chopped vegetables and other ingredients that are firmer than lettuce, but if you use lettuce (or better, spinach), layer it on top for the prep/storage part.

Carry the salad dressing separately, and add it right before you eat. If you work in an office, you may even have an office fridge where you can store it. If not, a ziploc baggie folded and tucked in the top works. Drugstores sell travel-size bottles for toiletries that could be used for this, too.

— Use a container that will hold your salad ingredients + some room to shake them together with the salad dressing. This could be a plastic storage container or even an old peanut butter jar, but this probably works better with the heavier products (rather than the disposable serving savers) — to prevent leaks. A Mason jar or old pasta sauce jar could work, too, but plastic is safer to carry back and forth than glass.

— Get creative! Try new vegetables, add some dried fruit or nuts, try some cheeses, slice up a hard-boiled egg, or add some baked chicken! Or make fruit salads! Here is the Farmer’s Fridge salad menu.

— Dairy or meat ingredients should be refrigerated as much as possible before eating, so if you don’t have access to a refrigerator, stick with fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

Bringing food with us for the day is a typical problem that needs solving, but you can always do this kind of preparation to make life simpler at home, too — sit down once or twice a week and put some meals together that are ready to go when you (or other family members) get home.


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