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The Dreadful Inconvenience of Salad - The Atlantic


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It also offers salads, which visitors can purchase from a futuristic-looking vending machine. 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. They cost $1.

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.

Most of Saunders’s machines are installed at private office buildings, food courts, and convenience stores, where the salads cost upwards of $7. Eventually, he wants to drive down the price to the point where anyone can afford them.

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Before Saunders decided to feed leafy greens to the masses, he spent two years working at an industrial-lubricants business in New York. After his girlfriend (now wife) moved to Michigan for law school, he joined her in Ann Arbor, where he got a job selling metal finishings. His work took him through various industrial neighborhoods and far-flung food wastelands around the country. Nearly everywhere he went, he was surrounded by Burger Kings and KFCs, and yet, for him: “There was nothing to eat.”

Saunders grew up in New Jersey on the stuff Whole Foods now peddles to rich hipsters. Each day, his stay-at-home mom served up dinners with ingredients like wheat-berries and kale to him and his five siblings. Back then he pined for fruit roll-ups and Kool-Aid, but as an adult, his crunchy upbringing stuck with him. Out in the real world, burgers and iceberg-lettuce salads just didn’t suffice.

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