Fresh from...the vending machine?

Vending machine

When you think of vending machines, fresh food probably doesn't come to mind. But across the U.S., that is beginning to change, as Modern Farmer reports on the trend of farm-fresh vending machines. For now it's more publicity stunt than practical application, although vendors have high hopes for the concept.

In New York state, vending machines at ten rest areas across the state are selling products "ranging from Red Jacket Orchard juices from Geneva, New York to Finger Lakes Fresh apple slices from Groton and Sweet Sam's cookies from the Bronx."  Glaum Egg Ranch in California was an early adopter of the technology, where their machines dispense eggs "with a side of entertainment. When customers purchase eggs, they're also treated to an animatronic show complete with singing and dancing chickens."

In both instances, the goal is to show that buying local isn't just for wealthy people. By making foods more accessible, the plan is that purchasers will see a farm's name on a vending machine and later seek out its products in another location or even visit the farm. In Europe and Japan, the concept has taken root as many farmers use vending machines as an alternative to roadside stands. The next time you hit the highway, perhaps you'll find something worth eating at the rest area.

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