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They Sell The World’s Freshest Salads
Clayton Farms of Ames, Iowa, sells fresh salads made with greens grown right within a converted Fazoli’s restaurant for an experience that’s genuinely farm to drive-thru.
Co-founders Danen Pool and Clayton Mooney started the company in 2017. “The first step was to design indoor farming equipment that could be set up close to the consumer,” says Mooney. “We then partnered with chefs and produce managers to have their insights on flavor profiles and best foods to start growing.”
Over the years, they tested their equipment with a subscription box service before landing on the restaurant space for their growing and salads. Upon entering the restaurant space, they converted the dining area to a farm for growing all the leafy greens and microgreens that go into salads and smoothies. “Over half of each salad by weight is our produce, and the food miles is about 15 feet. We’ve made it simple and economically practical,” says Mooney. “For our other ingredients, we have great local partners, including Capital City Fruit.” 
The salads range from $10 for Caesar to $12 for Cobb and Southwest salads. Another popular menu item is smoothies (priced at $6 to $8 each), packed with fresh farm produce like broccoli, peas, and bok choy microgreens. It’s also possible to skip the prepared food and purchase containers of cherry tomatoes or microgreens. Recently, Clayton Farms Salads has begun offering a catering service throughout Central Iowa.
While still a growing company, Clayton Farms’ business strategy has promise. “We’re grateful to have filled a major need for people in our community,” says Mooney. “We just celebrated 25,000 salads and smoothies served since opening just under 6 mos. ago. Our customers continue to help us fine-tune our menu offerings, and every piece of feedback we’ve received has helped us focus further on our mission of providing people with the food they deserve.”
The farm is looking to expand to more locations throughout Iowa and Minnesota. Says Mooney, “We want to expand nationally next year, so millions of people all across the U.S. can have access to the food they deserve. If growing and serving the world’s freshest salads strikes a chord with you, please contact us via our website. We’d be grateful to hear from you.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Clayton Farms Salads, 2435 Grand Ave., Ames, Iowa 50010 (ph 515-882-2669; www.claytonfarms.com).

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #6