Another stop I had to make on my recent holiday was to the Farmer’s Fridge vending machines in Chicago. These are vending machines that deliver not sugary, sweet, fatty treats in packets, but yummy fresh salads, crudites, yogurt and fruit in (BPA free) jars – I was intrigued.
There’s three machines in the city but I went to the one in the food court of the swanky Shops at North Bridge (520 North Michigan Avenue). I was expecting something the size of a Coke machine so I was amazed to realise that the machine and its surrounding information, cutlery etc actually takes up a ‘storefront’ as big as the other food vendors – even though there’s no staff, no counter and no kitchen. Kind of bizarre but I guess the shopping centre have to get their money in rent.
I got there after lunch and it seems the idea is a success as half the delivery chutes were empty but look – it’s salad, in a jar, FROM A MACHINE. The geek in me in this point is so happy. I was sitting next to it watching people walk past and it took all my willpower not to shout ‘IT’S SALAD FROM A MACHINE. DO YOU NOT KNOW HOW COOL THAT IS?’ The fact that I haven’t been arrested tells you I did manage to reign myself in though.
I’d already had lunch and so I didn’t try one of the salads (though if I had it would have been The Cheater which is packed with protein like eggs, seeds, cheese and chicken but still weighs in at just 340 calories), however I did buy a fruit cup and I can say it was really tasty. Totally fresh and good quality fruit. It’s actually reminded me how much I like melon – although there’s one sitting downstairs right now because The Boyfriend won’t cut it up and I hate doing that bit. See, this is why I need a vending machine!
Right now Farmer’s Fridge are only in Chicago (here’s where to find the three locations so far). Hey, they deliver the salads fresh daily around 10am and clear out unsold stock each time. I’m therefore guessing it’s good that they focus on just one place. Oh, and if you do go at the end of the day expect a discount – after 6pm they reduce any unsold stock by a dollar. If you want to find out more about them visit www.farmersfridge.com.
Other Odd Vending Machines I Have Visited
Admittedly this is not my first healthy vending machine. When I went to Japan one of my absolute must dos was to buy a banana from the Dole vending machine in Shibuya.
I also, just for the sake of comparison, checked out the less than healthy Sprinkles Cupcake ATM on my Chicago trip. Sadly, it’s being upgraded and so was empty. This was probably a good thing. I don’t like cupcakes but even I would have had to buy one from a machine!