By Morgan M. Hurley | Editor
A few weeks ago, we ran a story titled, “Farmer’s Fix: Healthy eating made easy,” [Vol. 8, Issue 8, April 14 or online at tinyurl.com/m8nfj44]. The company was launched by two local men, Tawei David Lin and Doug Murphy, who wanted to create an alternative to “the fastest and easiest thing” most of us seem to grab, usually on the go, for lunch during our work days.
The result, Farmer’s Fix, is an on-demand, high quality salad delivery service, with free delivery on orders of $50 or more. Orders costing less than this will have a $6 delivery charge, which Murphy easily justified.
“Amazon has tricked us into thinking this isn’t an expense, but we actually spend more making a delivery than we do making a salad,” he said. “And this is huge — because when you’re sitting at your desk and you’re late for a meeting, you’re not going to drive to the store with the best healthy food and wait in line.”
With my chained-to-a-desk schedule, and at the invitation of Lin and Murphy, I decided to give Farmer’s Fix a try on their dime.
My first step was to go to their website, myfarmersfix.com, and set up my account. I spent an inordinate amount of time reviewing all the salad options, intrigued by the variety of choices and their many ingredients, most of which, you can’t find at even the best salad bar.
I was impressed by the presentation of the website, especially for a startup. It is intuitive, user-friendly and both the images and the graphics are of the highest quality; this first impression told me these guys were serious about providing the best product possible at every level.
Once you create a login and decide upon your salads for the following week — orders must be placed by Wednesday for Sunday delivery — they will arrive in a special cooler-style tote bag with a freezer cold pack inside.
You can just toss this whole bag full of salads into your refrigerator. I ordered enough to get me through the whole week.
Since two-thirds of their client base have them delivered to their homes, their typical delivery occurs on Sundays, between 2–4 p.m., so if you are planning to eat them at work and your office is not open on the weekends, you’ll want to request a Monday delivery.
While those will generally arrive by noon, as with anything, some things are beyond their control. Murphy said many clients have them delivered to their homes on Sunday and just bring them to work or split them up for side salads at dinner.
What I loved most about these salads was the infusion of different legumes, nuts and grains: lentils, almonds, pecans, pistachios, peanuts, sunflower seeds, quinoa, couscous, farro and “forbidden rice.” Forbidden rice is an ancient grain that is black in color and has expanded health benefits over other rice varieties.
I had to ask Murphy about all these ingredients, in comparison to salads you can purchase elsewhere and bring to work on your own. He said pistachios “cost about the same per pound as filet mignon” but they still use them — as well as the very pricey forbidden rice — because they are better both in taste and nutrition.
I tried as many of the choices as possible, though I did not ever add on a protein — chicken, tofu or eggs — which are now all available. I don’t have any allergies to food, but for those that do, the website is very detailed regarding these issues and you are free to specify anything you wish to keep out of your salads. Even without the additional proteins, however, the proteins are packed in, with generally 10 to 20 grams.
When it came to freshness, which for salads delivered up to five or six days in advance could be an issue, I found it to be top-notch quality across the board. The website refers to their “plastic” container — made of vegetables and fully compostable — and their preservation process, as a “relentless focus on eliminating any moisture.”
I can vouch for that, as the tomatoes in the Pearl Couscous still literally popped in my mouth on day four and the spinach in the Field and Garden was still “incredibly fresh” as my notes stated, on the fifth day of a second week. If a salad were to arrive in a subpar state, Murphy assured me his focus on long-term relationships with their clients ensures their customer service is taken seriously.
And while some may recoil at the $10 starter price, these salads are fresh, hearty healthy, huge, and they are delivered to your door.
In addition, Murphy and Lin really put a great deal of thought into their ingredients and I asked about that, too.
“Iceberg is water and fiber, no nutrients,” Murphy said, describing a typical salad staple. “Spinach is probably the best way to get magnesium in your diet, and it’s packed with vitamins A–D, folate, iron, potassium … so many good things.
“There is more to a good diet than restricting calories and avoiding bad stuff, although you should do those things,” he continued. “You also need to get a balance of nutrients, with maximum bioavailability — in a way that your body actually absorbs them, instead of just excreting them. We think about these things.”
Their dressings are another thing they put effort into and each one of them blended perfectly to the salad it came with. I could not have forgone even one of them; though they did add calories.
Traditionally I am not a fan of fruit in a salad, but in these cases I barely noticed because the combinations in the salad all went so well together. Some salads I enjoyed so much I literally ate them too fast to describe afterward.
Rather than list all the salads and their ingredients, I highly encourage you to go to their website, see the photos and read the details. You won’t be disappointed.
“The balance of flavors and nutrients matters,” Murphy said. “You don’t pay an accountant to fill out your tax forms — you pay for the years of learning they did and the way they apply that learning to maximize your return without breaking the law. It’s the same with our salads. You don’t pay us to put the ingredients in a bowl, you pay us to put the right ingredients together.”
And they do just that.
One recommendation I did have, which Murphy agreed with, was to offer lower calorie combinations for those who are counting their calories.He assured me they will look into future offerings.
To learn more about Farmer’s Fix, visit myfarmersfix.com. Tell them I sent you.
—Morgan M. Hurley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.