Field meals look different for everyone. Growing up on my family’s dairy farm, field meals weren’t something my family did. When my dad was in the field he was always close to home, so he would stop in for dinner. OR, if we did eat in the field with him it was most often takeout from the local burger place with root beer floats.
When I met Josh it was a surprise to me to see his mom delivering warm meals to the guys in the field, nightly. Now, I understand why. Crops are our main gig and not all of our fields are close to home. Even when we are close to home, it doesn’t make sense for everyone to come back or eat at their respective homes because it shuts the whole crew down. And what about our employees? Are they expected to go home for dinner and come back?
It makes sense to feed the crew in the field and keep the wheels rolling as much as possible. Field meals are a big way my sister-in-laws, mother-in-law, and myself contribute to helping get through the harvest season.
That’s another big point I need to make before I get into my field meal tips. I don’t make meals nightly for our guys. Because I share the responsibility, I make meals on average 1-2 nights per week during harvest. I LOVE delivering field meals, so I take the opportunities I can while sharing the responsibilities with the other gals on the farm. If I was doing it every night, I think I would feel more stressed about it and simplify more than I do now.
That being said, here are my
7 TIPS FOR FIELD MEALS AND DELIVERY!
1. Organize an Assembly Line
I learned this trick from my mother-in-law. Lay out all of your meal delivery vessels in an assembly line. I do this well before the main course is ready. I put in all the cold parts of the meal like dessert and fruit first. Once the main course is ready, I plop it in and close up the containers quickly to keep everything warm!
I catch flack for these styrofoam containers anytime I show them on social media. I would prefer something more environmentally friendly but haven’t found anything that will keep the meals warm enough and comparable in pricing. We’re feeding a large crew and this comes out of our personal finances. I suppose we can write off some of it, but we are still trying to be as economical as possible.
2. Don’t forget the SPOON!
All of the meals I serve can either be eaten with a spoon or their hands. It has to be able to be eaten on the go as we don’t stop for meals. I OFTEN forget to add the spoon to the trays before I close them up.
One tip is to keep spare silverware in your vehicle kit! I often tell the guys to keep extras in their lunch boxes as well, just in case.
3. Insulate the Meals for Delivery
After the meals are all boxed up I put them either in a cooler like this or an insulated tote bag. Add a bath towel to the bottom of the cooler for added insulation!
Sometimes, if the meal needs to stay hot to taste good, I line the main container with tinfoil for added insulation. I also wrap things like burgers or Runza’s in tin foil.
4. Luke Warm-ish Meals
I try to choose meals that taste good even when they aren’t piping hot. Sometimes our crew is spread out and it could be 2 hours from the time I box up the meals to when I’m delivering the last one.
One of my favorite go-to meals when I know I’ll be traveling far are burrito bowls. They taste good at ANY temp. Ham sandwiches are good at room temp and Runza’s hold their heat in very well for longer periods of time.
We like to keep it simple and bring along bottled water for dinner deliveries. I have a garage fridge we keep waters in so they can be delivered cold. Sometimes the days get hot and a cold water is much appreciated alongside a warm meal after a long day.
6. Keep it Simple
I justify some of my more elaborate meals because I’m only delivering 1-2 nights a week. However, if I was doing it every night I would be leaning into more simple options.
TAKEOUT! Do it! There is 100% no shame in a pizza, Culvers, or other fast food delivery. There are even some places around us that will deliver to a field if you ask them!
7. Remember this is about YOU and YOUR crew.
I deliver meals because I ENJOY it! I truly love knowing I can help keep the wheels moving and know the guys look forward to meal time each day.
It’s not worth it to compare your operation to someone else’s because everyone does things differently.
I hope you enjoyed this post and it brought you some inspiration for field meals! If you have anything to add, please share it in the comments!