For Kevin and Michelle Steadman, healthy eating has always been a priority they found that with jobs, a teenager and life in general, it became increasingly difficult to commit.
Keenly aware that many families share the same concerns, they created Salads in a Jar – a small business that will deliver to your door ready-to-eat meals of fresh vegetables and fruits.
“We wanted to bring a different, healthy option to people, and if people have something healthy, ready to eat in their refrigerator they are more likely to eat healthy,” Kevin Steadman said.
“People want convenience, delivery and healthy products,” Michelle Steadman said. “We make it for you. We deliver it to you. It’s healthy. We can’t make it any simpler.”
Much of the ingredients are organic and everything is purchased fresh from local markets.
The idea for the business came seven or eight years ago, when Michelle Steadman started making salads in jars for her family. She posted photos on Facebook and friends thought the layered creations of vegetables and fruits looked appetizing and asked her to make some for them.
Ultimately, the Steadmans created Salads in a Jar, but set the small business aside when they began selling their TRUElicious energy and nutrition bars through Whole Foods and other health food outlets.
When they sold the TRUElicious business a couple of years ago, they restarted Salads in a Jar.
“It’s gone well,” Michelle Steadman said.
They currently make up and deliver about 400 jars per week delivered to homes and businesses throughout the valley by Kevin Steadman.
There are about 50 different menu options, including a variety of vegetable and fruit salads; protein breakfast jars of oats, fruit and other ingredients; soups – hot and chilled; snacks; infused water; tacos and other items all prepared and ready to eat. Salad prices range from about $7-$15.
Their products are ready to eat – just pour the layered salad ingredients into a bowl and add the dressing.
There are also shake-and-go salads – with the fixings in 20-ounce, recyclable plastic containers with lids. Add the included dressing, shake it up and the salad can be eaten out of the container.
Most of their customers are year-round residents, promising business will continue through the summer.
“This is especially appreciated in the summer when people are looking for something cool to eat that’s prepared and healthy and doesn’t require turning on the oven,” she said.
How it works
Orders are assembled the night before delivery. The glass jars keep everything fresh for up to five days, she said.
Deliveries are currently Monday and Wednesday. If business continues to pick up, a third day will be added. Orders must be placed a few days ahead – by Thursday night for Monday delivery and Sunday night for Wednesday delivery.
“That gives us time to buy exactly the amount of ingredients we need, because we never want to have waste or anything left over,” Michelle Steadman said.
All ordering – and payment – is done online at saladsinajar.com. Use the code DSN15 and receive a 15 percent discount through May 30, Michelle Steadman said.
There is no subscription requirement.
“You order what you want when you want,” she said.
There is, however, a minimum $27 purchase. Items are delivered out of a van with refrigerators and coolers to keep everything fresh.
Customers who won’t be home for the delivery can leave an ice chest outside their door or gate.
The Steadmans – both of whom grew up in the Coachella Valley – encourage jar recycling and ask that customers have the empties ready for pickup when new orders are delivered, much like the old days of home milk delivery, Michelle Steadman said.
They track the jars and customers receive a free salad with their 15th recycled jar, she said.
Salads in a Jar is a family business that includes 17-year-old son, Logan, plus other employees – three of them high school students.
“We like being able to employ high school kids and giving them their first job,” said Kevin Steadman.
What’s on the menu
The 16-ounce or 32-ounce salads and other menu items are assembled in a commercial suite they lease in Indio. On the wall of the business, deemed a restaurant, is a grade “A” placard from the Riverside County Department of Health.
Jars are packed so full that the 32-ounce salads can feed two people.
The menu offers a variety of salads with new items routinely rotated in and others removed.
Some, such as the new Buffalo Chicken Salad – with blue cheese crumbles, celery, bacon, shredded carrots, pepperoncini, chicken in red hot sauce, romaine lettuce, tortilla strips and ranch dressing – are suggested by customers.
Their most popular item is the Skinny Taco Salad with organic ingredients of romaine lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, black beans, kernel corn, black olives, red onions and cilantro lime dressing.
Also popular are the Sweet Potato Tacos made with, yes, sweet potato, organic black beans, corn, cabbage, cilantro, mango and cream sauce, served in a flour tortilla with a side of lime.
Customers can request that ingredients they don’t like or are allergic to be removed and they will just add more of all other items to fill out.
Dressings are specific to each salad, but even those can be changed if the customer prefers something different, Kevin Steadman said.
A lunch combo can include a salad, fresh fruit and infused water.
Chicken street tacos, chocolate and berry pieces and strawberry chicken salad are also on the menu.
They also cater and have done numerous large events in the area. Catering menus include an array of bagels, croissants, fresh fruit, yogurt and more for breakfast; pinwheels, wraps, fruit, “salad bars to go” and more for lunch.
“We always want and invite feedback from customers,” he said.
If someone didn’t like something, they want to know why and hear suggestions for improvement.
“That’s the only way we can make it better,” he said.
Most of their customers are full-time residents and the Steadmans say business picks up in the off-season.
She believes that’s because during season, people are busy attending events that include meals. Then season ends, and they are eating at home more but don’t always want to have to prepare and cook their meals.
“The summer is busier for us than season,” Michelle Steadman said. “Last August was our busiest of all.”
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