One Wilde Year

 

To track our menu tells a story.

Kiah built the Summer 2017 menu as a collection of her personal food story. Influenced by her farming, a hospitable Greek family, a small kitchen in Mexico City, Montessori gardens in Nashville; different comfort foods learned in home kitchens that had welcomed her in and taught her how to tinker and cut and improvise and salt. She developed her first menu from food she loved.

She shared it with her friends.

They made art out of her initial ideas.

The seasons changed, and so did the menu. Leaving behind sun ripened fruits for the warming flavors of her Czech roots, she adapted the menu to fit around what was seasonally available.

The truck played it’s roll, we learned it’s powers and limitations and eventually mastered our tiny kitchen. We were able to make food better, and more of it.

Then spring brought freshness, and with that a new menu again.

If summer was a chipotle chickpea based falafel, and winter was a borsht inspired rice ball, well, then spring was the evolution, the marriage of the two, to form our fried tabouli balls.

And so it goes.

It would be daft to narrate this story without the characters in it. And while food and our truck played a roll in defining and creating Wilde Thyme, it couldn’t have happened without our dedicated team.

To start a business is not easy. To share an idea and interrupt spaces and patterns in the food industry is not easy. To work 15hr shifts back to back on our feet in a tiny hot metal box, is not easy. The evolving crew I have been so fortunate enough to work with show up, and show out. They are powerful, they are creative, they are geniuses, and cheerleaders, and growers, and feeders. They’ve kept it going, they’ve evolved it, they’ve made it sustainable, they’ve made it possible. They have surprised me, they have made my heart explode, they have made me laugh, and they have made you food. They’re incredible, and Wilde Thyme is incredible because of them.

 

Starting this business I dreamed it could support local food systems, I dreamed it could take part in a conversation around where and how (and for how much $) food travels through this city, I dreamed of interrupting stagnant and oppressive spaces, I dreamed of filling bellies, of teaching recipes, and of creating a community.

In just one year we have touched on all of that. And while I could gripe and groan about the bruises along the way, I am not here to give that attention. I am here, with the support of the community we have built, to continue what we have started, to evolve and address the complexities of the food system in new and improved ways, with continued creativity, tougher skin, and a growing veracity. We made it through a year of business. HECK YEA. And we are here for year two.

Jack & Zach Food

Jack & Zach’s is a ‘snug joint focusing on locally sourced, housemade sausage sandwiches & veggie patties’, located on 333 N. Charles Street.

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The 12 seat diner has always been one of Kiah’s favorite places to eat delicious locally sourced and crafted foods in Baltimore. Kiah has known Zach and Jack from way back when, and since they opened their restaurant back in 2012, she has seen them develop and adapt their business through the years, staying true to their original mission of sourcing the freshest local ingredients. They have been an inspiration to Kiah as well as a support in providing insight that has helped in launching  her own small food business, Wilde Thyme. Everything from letting Kiah shadow in their kitchen to sharing resources on where they source locally to simply grabbing a drink at the end of a long work day and shooting the shit.

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Kiah shadowing at Jack and Zach’s

We are so excited to be developing our menu to include their housemade sausage. We’re always looking for ways to create mutually beneficial relationships with other small businesses in this city. We encourage everyone who has enjoyed our food and our model to check out Jack & Zach food.

Yellow House Farm

Emma Reisinger, who was part of our opening season staff, has launched her own local business focused on sustainable food. Emma, the head farmer of the newly established Yellow House Farm, brought so much insight (and produce!) to our truck last summer, 2017. We are so pleased to see her kicking off her first official CSA season this year and we wanted to highlight her and her farm in our May Newsletter. Emma gives a little background into the launch of her farm in the article below. 

Yellow House Farm started from the seemingly very simple idea that I wanted to grow food. I wanted to grow for myself, for my friends, for my family, for my neighbors, and for the places where I worked as a cook. I like feeding people, whether that’s through preparing meals or the slightly less direct route of preparing garden beds.

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This year I’m thrilled to be farming full-time, launching Yellow House Farm in Cedmont, a small neighborhood on the East side. Although the growing season is (at long last) just taking off, the past few seasons have been helpful for preparation: building a greenhouse over the winter and slowly but surely converting the namesake yellow house’s lawn into vegetable beds. Now everybody’s growing: the seedlings, the chicks, the beehives.

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Green House

Since it the first year, I’m focusing on building systems and soils. In 2018, I’m growing favorite annual vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, kale, cucumbers, okra, arugula, spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens, eggplant, and more. I’m also planting loads of small fruits and perennials so that in future years I’ll be able to offer an abundance of asparagus, rhubarb, horseradish, figs, and berries (strawberries! blackberries! raspberries! elderberries!).

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Baby Chard

 I’m looking forward to the start of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) season in May. While my CSA is full this year, you can find some of my veggies, herbs, and flowers with BearFoot Farm at the Lauraville Market on Tuesdays starting in June. More than anything else, I am grateful to be able to work outside every day and follow the rhythms of sun and rain.

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First volunteer group, spring 2018.

 If you’d like to follow the progress of the farm or would like to get in touch, I post updates on Instagram regularly (@yellowhousefarmbaltimore) and am easily accessible via email (yellowhousefarmbmore@gmail.com).

-Emma Reisinger

Touching Solo (Soil)

As someone whose passion for food came through farming, I am always trying to find ways back to the farm.

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Luiza standing at a vantage point on her 14 hectare farm.

I started building Wilde Thyme at the end of 2016, and between building the truck, teaching myself on a steep learning curve how to run a small business, and operating the truck for half a year, I proactively planned in some time to reflect and relax after the whirlwind first season with the truck.

As part of that reflection and relaxation process I was interested in finding a way to incorporate 1) saying ‘hey’ to the sun mid-winter for survival purposes, 2) getting my hands dirty on a farm, and 3) trying a food I’d never had before. As it happens, I have a dear friend Luiza who is in her first year of starting a small business, a farm, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Luiza and I met 4 years ago on a farm in Argentina. We were both beginning farmers interested in learning about biointensive farming (a style of farming that maximizes the ratio of product to space through planting and fertilizing techniques, great for small or urban farms). We found friendship on a farm called CIESA outside of El Bólson. Between broken spanish, long hours weeding, and cold spring nights we became fast friends, and it felt easy reaching out to her despite the time and distance between when we last connected.

 

Luiza is starting a huge farming project on 14 hectares of newly acquired land. Luiza is developing her new farm by using agroforestry, or syntropic agriculture, practices she learned from Ernst Gotsch in Brasília. Agroforestry is a style of agriculture that emphasizes the cultivation and conservation of trees. It focuses on the importance of trees as a staple on the farm, and you build and design your farm around your intended forest. The diverse types of trees not only provide wood, fruit, nuts, and seeds but they also act as a base provider of shade and cut and drop compost. The trees are actively helping soil as well as dramatically changing the micro-climate of your farm, allowing you to plant more diverse produce in the rows at the base of your trees. For more information about this farming practice you can watch a short youtube video here.

 

Luiza and her partner João were in the beginning stages of their farm working largely on getting the details right in order to start up a long-standing sustainable farm. Aside from mapping out the property and discovering obstacles (like a dried riverbed!), they were collecting local seeds and clearing patches in order to start planting some of the slower-to-cultivate trees (like Açai and Mango).

 

It was an absolute pleasure to witness the start of this project, and I hope to continue to watch as their farm grows. Aside from the wealth of knowledge I gained about this farming practice, I appreciated the time I got to spend with Luiza, speaking broken languages, and eating too many mangoes in the hot sun talking about how hard and confusing and lonely it can feel to start a business based around something you’re passionate about. Despite our businesses being based in different countries, and focused on different stages of food development, and our different languages, we were able to fully understand the common experience we were sharing of starting something new and hard based on our shared passion and values for how food is cultivated and shared in our big world. And it’s moment like this, that a lone business owner doesn’t feel as lost or mystified about why she started a little truck in Baltimore.

 

And a note on Brazilian food- it’s diverse- because Brazil is huge! So it was hard to get a full grasp of all the country had to offer in just a few weeks. I focused on street food in Rio, state specialties that you were able to access in the city, and a few local ingredients that I had never heard of. I am continually in awe of how and what people sell on the street or out of mobile carts (or on foot!). I felt inspired to see the melting pot of cuisines as well as the traditional foods from across the entire country that you could access in Rio (so much of the world seems to have their version of a doughy street dumpling!). Some of what I saw and tasted directly influenced our spring menu (spinach and lamb Kibe, a Levantine dish made of bulgur, minced onions, and finely ground lean beef, lamb, goat, or camel meat with Middle Eastern spices, often baked as small pastries you could grab quickly just about anywhere), and other ideas will appear as specials or as part of our summer menu. For now, I will leave you with some documented highlights:

 

Austin’s Food Trucks: Stronger Together

I found myself buying a last minute ticket to Austin after our first official food truck season had come to a close. The selling points were visiting some friends, a break from Debbie (my truck), and sunshine.

That was how little I knew about Austin. Grant it, I got the friendship part right. But what I didn’t expect was how much inspiration I would garner from the food truck scene in Austin, Debbie was almost constantly on my mind. My trip away quickly became a business trip where I dedicated most of my time to following my stomach on a tour around the city, stopping to look closely at truck menus, their set-up, eat their food, and occasionally talk to their owner’s.

First up was Veracruz All Natural. A kitchen on a school bus, serving up delicious breakfast tacos, including Austin’s favorite Migas. The beauty of Migas is that it takes day-old tortillas, mixes them with eggs, and BOOM! You have a brand new, delicious, breakfast meal! I am always thinking about how to reduce food waste, and I think recipes that can take something a day old and make it sparkling new, is utter genius. One of my favorite cook books, Prune, dedicates an entire section of the cookbook to demystifying how to use products that might otherwise be waste. In addition to recycling tortillas, Veracruz is set up on a used school bus. The ultimate dream. When I originally got started with shopping for a truck to build out I looked for a school bus. My interest in having an education component for the business mission made a school bus seem like the perfect fit. I quickly found out that it violated the size limit for trucks in Maryland, but was brought back to my initial day dreams while eyeing the awesome kitchen on the Veracruz bus.

Next up was East Side King. The East Side King has expanded to several trucks and brick and mortar, so their hustle alone is inspiring. I went to the original location tucked discreetly behind The Liberty, a dive bar with an open patio in the back. A lot of bars in Austin have open air patios in the back, creating a symbiotic working relationship with trucks. If a dive bar can find an influential truck to change the game, and a truck can find ample room with private picnic tables and a constant stream of people- that’s a win-win. This model doesn’t quite work for Baltimore, since it’s not an ‘al fresco’ city. But it did get me thinking about the collaborations trucks have with local breweries like Union and Monument. My heart also sang for their beet homefries. You know a girl swoons when she’s sees someone taking an unpopular vegetable and making something delicious with it.

It wouldn’t be a trip to Austin without a stop at one BBQ joint. We went to Micklethwait Craft Meats. They are on a stand alone lot, with three trailers hitched together like a train. One for service, and two to contain their enormous smokers. Their meats fell off the bone, and their sides were tweaked ever so slightly from the classics to make your mouth giggle with delight. There was a liquor store a block over, and while they couldn’t serve drinks, you could BYOB, taking this casual sit down picnic to an eatery you could really linger at.

Last, and by no means least was Patrizi’s. A true Italian restaurant featuring homemade pasta, local ingredients, and baseball sized meatballs. I spent the most time at Patrizi’s, as the owner and manager were both around to generously give me a behind the scenes tour and swap stories about our relative experiences. Their homestyle eatery and emphasis on slow food were really inspiring and refreshing, seeing as in Baltimore it would seem to be a business flaw to slow your street food down to take more than five minutes. They talked about how their boom in popularity caused wait times of up to an hour and how they remedied that in their business, since speed is a constant concern on wheels (whether you’re mobile or not). They also had a Front of House person, and I don’t just mean a friendly face in the window to take your order. They had one person dedicated to talking you through the menu, explaining Italian words that might be over your head, helping you to make the best choice- and then they brought you your food to your picnic table. This truck was drawing outside the lines, and I was into it. Why put “food trucks” in one box, we don’t treat brick and mortar all the same?

A few weeks ago a friend sent me an article titled “No Longer Trendy, Food Trucks Facing Declining Revenue Find Ways to Survive”. And arguably it’s true, food trends ebb and flow, trendy donuts chomped on cupcakes, as pop-ups have gobbled up trucks. While it could be argued that Baltimore is not nearly as saturated as D.C., or Austin, it is still important to keep a pulse on what is trendy. The surge in food truck popularity was largely influenced by the low initial investment and overhead cost, partnered with the classic “restaurant model” failing in our economy. While trucks trend out, Wilde Thyme is here to stay. The most impressive take away from my time in Austin was the teamwork. Whether it’s a truck partnering with a bar, a theater, or, like the image above, each other (in a fenced off lot with a stage, a garden, communal picnic tables!!), they have found one common way to survive in a saturated industry. Teamwork makes the dream work. We can’t sit pretty on the corner of S. Charles and Baltimore and think that things will always be the same. Because if there is one guarantee, it’s that they won’t be. We need to reach out to our neighbors, our industry brothers and sisters, our theaters, and our rec centers, and we need to talk about how our communal efforts will become the most sustainable trend the food industry, and our communities, have seen yet.

Holiday Party Thyme!

To our beautiful and supportive community,

A year ago on December 15th, 2016, I acquired Little Debbie, the food truck.

From December through March I was zipping around to “see a guy about a thing”; buying used equipment, trusting craigslist strangers to sell me things in good condition, touring auction houses and restaurant supply stores, spending copious amounts of time driving to and from an RV store, and recruiting my friends to taste test recipes and make art and magic and dreams in the empty truck. I was hardly alone throughout the building. Support from Cat (@naturallychefcat) and that Baltimore Chef Alliance helped put into perspective the shared experiences we were going through as different parts of the same Baltimore food scene, making me feel less alone from the very beginning.

From April through June I was navigating the health department. This was where the help from other food truck owners and small businesses, part time jobs, and old friends cheers, became essential to survival. The echoed warnings to not start a food business rung in my ears as I shuffled between government buildings. The line the first rule of food trucks is: don’t start a food truck, which had been told to me on multiple accounts, was stuck in my head as I sat impatiently in different waiting rooms for the right slips of paper.  But we painted the truck as though it was a community barn raising, and no one around me lost site. And in the spring Little Debbie budded into Wilde Thyme.

Then came dream team A, the first Wilde Thyme squad, and the steady hand of Wilde Thyme’s first season as we went live in Baltimore. I could write poetry about these women and it would fall somewhere between a hero’s ballad and a love letter. They witnessed soft openings, small fires, days where we sold food to five people, days where we served hundreds, our first festival, our second festival, our third festival, new specials, new produce, new farms, new partners, new systems, old mistakes, my tears, self care dates, new ideas, new art, and new neighborhoods.

As we head into our first winter with Wilde Thyme, I want to take time to celebrate all the hero’s that have contributed to this small business in its first year! Anyone who ate our food, anyone who cooked are food, anyone who grew our food, anyone who helped with advice, or offered a shoulder to cry on when it was hard, and anyone that took time to help me remember to celebrate the little triumphs along the way.

This city is built up of small businesses and creative makers, so if you find yourself wanting to celebrate the successes of your year, please join forces with us for our Holiday Party (aka Little Debbie’s Bday!):

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Love,

Kiah

 

To St. John, with Love

When I first asked Josephine for a job she said no.

I waited a week and went back.

The second time I asked Josephine for a job, she looked me up and down and said, “can you squat?”. I responded “yes” without hesitation, thrown off by her frankness.

She put scissors in my hand and led me back to the farm. She told me to fill a bucket with greens.

So, I squatted down low, took my scissors and started trimming the greens that surrounded me; baby tat soi, baby bok choy, leafy greens, mustard greens, greens I’d never seen. It took me some time waddling around like a creature low to the ground trimming all the bounty that surrounded me to fill up the bucket, but when I did I turned to Josephine, bucket in hand and I asked her what was next.

She cackled loud! “I did not think a tall girl like you could squat! And you’re not too slow! I still want to make sure we make sense before I hire you, but for now you can fill another bucket”.

And so it was for the next 6 months, Josephine let me continue filling up buckets with her spectacular greens.

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Josephine is one of the most remarkable humans I’ve ever had the opportunity to work for. She is strong and smart and has spent almost every day for the last 30 years growing food on the little island of St. John. Josephine’s farm sits on one of the only wells on the island, making it possible for her to irrigate the only mass producing farm on St. John. She taught me how to grow microgreens, how to make kimchi with all the excess tatsoi, how to perfectly bag up greens so they didn’t get soggy, how to landscape pineapples, how to harvest sugar cane and lemon grass, how to put love into the food you’re growing, and then how to extend that love through an entire community regardless of the acknowledgement or appraisal.

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St. John was one of the most significant steps I took toward getting to where I am today. In addition to being witness to the extension of love through the food you grew, I was witness to a greek family with roots build and open a greek food truck called Little Olive.

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This family of four worked unbelievably hard to bring their family recipes to the locals and visitors of St. John. They used Josephine’s produce creating a symbiotic relationship between food, and people, and the little island. The experience I had of taking part in both farm and truck shaped a large amount of the ideology I have today that helps me navigate this new world of Wilde Thyme. I saw what was possible when a few people chose love as their navigating force to run their business, and the impact it could have.

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To St. John, to Josephine, and to the Little Olive family. You’re love is what will re-grow your St. John, and it will come back tenfold.

And to all the Baltimoreans reading this, consider donating to the hurricane relief through the St. John Community Foundation and St. John Rescue.

An additional article to read about Irma’s impact on St. John is here.

“Before Hurricane Irma hit the continental United States, it had already affected at least 100,000 Americans. Not tourists visiting islands. Just 100,000 Americans, living in America’s paradise, the United States Virgin Islands.”

 

Whitelock Community Farm

 

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Whitelock Community Farm got its start in 2010 as residents of Reservoir Hill converted a vacant lot into an active urban farm. Since then, the farm has been growing rapidly—both in scale and scope! We are thrilled to be able to serve Whitelock’s beautiful produce on the truck.

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One of our team members is a neighbor and volunteer of the farm. Whitelock was the first farm we partnered with to do a farm volunteer day as a full staff with the intention of getting to know our farms and farmers on a more personal basis. It’s been easy getting to know Whitelock, they’re extremely engaged with the community and interested in sharing their wealth of knowledge.

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In addition to growing food, which feeds the neighborhood through their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, Mobile Market spots, and weekly farm stand, Whitelock also serves as open space for community events and a place where many come to learn more about growing and preserving food through volunteering, internships, the YouthWorks program, Farm Club, and community cooking classes and workshops.

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The farm is located at 930 Whitelock St. in Reservoir Hill. If you’re in the neighborhood, you can also bring your kitchen scraps to the farm to be turned into compost! On Saturday, October 7, Whitelock is doing a book drive from 10am-1pm, and on Sunday, October 8 they are hosting their annual Harvest Festival from 12-4pm.

Coming up on Sunday, October 22, Wilde Thyme will be serving food at Whitelock during a Fall Fashion Clothing Swap!

You can learn more about this farm on the website: www.whitelockfarm.org or follow the farm on Instagram @ whitelockfarm. They also have regular volunteer hours, and it’s so fun to dig up sweet potatoes, so consider volunteering this fall!

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Upcoming Events:

  • September Potluck/Cookout – 9/27
  • October Book Drive – 10/7 (10-1)
  • Annual Harvest Festival – 10/8 (12-4)

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  • Fall Farm Fashion Swap – 10/26 with Wilde Thyme

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Brainstorming Notes from crEATe 4/23/17

Last night a group of local artists met to discuss how we envision art being mobile in Baltimore, and how can selling art from Wilde Thyme be beneficial to the artists, the food truck, and the community Wilde Thyme is in?

 

A lot of great ideas were generated from this brain storming session, and in order to include more artists and community members in continuing this discussion I wanted to present the ideas that circulated last night.

 

How do we envision art being mobile in Baltimore?

  • Playlists, music, speakers: Baltimore sounds, determining what people like based on location
  • A chalkboard drawing area, low enough for young people to reach it.
  • Hanging plants (planters and plants for sale)
  • Popping up between the architecture and engineering building of Morgan University to support students
  • Rotating art to be sold from the back of the truck
  • Mugs for sale with hot beverages during cold months
  • Having a “neighborhood hero” or “neighborhood artist” or that get’s highlighted every month with informations on their story on our community board. Similarly, having “student of the month” that gets a similar shout out from the truck`
  • Pop-up dominos tables for the sidewalk
  • Joining schools for different annual celebrations
  • Developing meals based around the community. Perhaps having week each month where people can submit their favorite recipes and then Wilde Thyme will do their best interpretation of it. This could also be developed into community cook books
  • Celebrating different urban farm events, or events in park spaces
  • Having local “Paper Plate Awards”, where folks get lavish paper plate awards for exceptional local successes
  • Musicians busking
  • Spoken word or open mic nights
  • Having a barter system set up where more then just money is excepted on certain days/times
  • Having a suggestion box, but also just a box for people to submit cute notes and art
  • Post secret/object drop off
  • Community games of “Telephone” or other games that build off of each other like “best game ever” (also known as “spanking yoda”)
  • Tiny Gallery, literally just a tiny gallery where a monthly artist is featured in a small way
  • A graffiti board (with structure), similar to the chalk area on the truck there could be a square reserved for adults to play around with communal ephemeral art on the truck
  • Popping up in front of furniture stores, to highlight displayed furniture but also offer a place to eat. Maybe Cedar and Cotton? *Spin off dialog: It would have to be NO SPILL FOOD!… What’s no spill food?… Carrot sticks!
  • Menu drawings: seasonal drawings that help people understand what is in each menu option, but also drawings can relate to the sentiment of the food item too (ie what, where, who does it remind you of?)
  • Menus with multiple language options +brail
  • Pages to color, like at restaurants, but possibly chalk outlines on the side walk, or menu drawings that could be printed out
  • Bring your dog to the truck day, possibly in conjunction with an animal shelter? We could have dog treats and water pales.
  • Creative merch, clothes more then t-shirts? Fanny packs? Pins?
  • T-shirts that you can color in
  • Working with vocational tech schools when the truck needs repairs
  • Free movies projected onto the side of the truck
  • Christmas lights ALL. OVER. THE. TRUCK. Let’s bidazzle it! GLITTER!
  • Maps of Baltimore: mapping Baltimore from the trucks point of view (ie what food is popular where, what art is popular where, where is the truck popping up?); mapping Baltimore from the customers view point (ie what does their neighborhood mean to them, what story can they tell?)…
  • Having “my first” pictures. Styled in the way that some restaurants take pictures when you eat their biggest and baddest sandwich, but instead just keeping a log of every time someone tries something they’ve never had, weather it be a tomato or a falafel or a…
  • —> fold this into a coffee table picture book to make your millions.
  • Side walk art classes: pop-up potter wheel, pop up model for drawing, pop up loom, pop-up…
  • Partnering with animal petting zoo, with the zoo, people were just really excited about the Drawing Zoo, but unclear what the health code options are with this one.
  • Basketball hoop with the trashcan under it (also there could be compost/information on composting too)…
  • Bring your own mug/plate discount (permitting greyness….)
  • Sell furniture, by having furniture out for people to sit in, sell spoons, by having spoons people want to eat with!
  • The Elsewhere Museum inspiration, if the shared space is changing and mobile, how can we build up the people to be what is solid and built upon?
  • ART THAT INVOLVES CUSTOMERS

If you’re interested in selling your art, or in partnering for a sidewalk performance/art workshop please fill out our Artist Application form here.

If you’re interested in joining the conversation or have additional feedback or want more information, please feel free to email the owner Kiah at wildethymebaltimore@gmail.com

crEATe

Dear Artists,

I admire the experiential approach to learning and have been thinking about all the ways people absorb the world around them-visually, through sound, reading, smells, tastes, touch. As readers of this blog know, I am starting a food truck and am curious about how a food truck can be more approachable to a wider audience. What draws people in? What holds people back from trying a food truck?  I’m interested in the idea of having hands on immersive experiences that complement one’s experience of eating at the truck.

One of the reasons I fell in love with cooking is because it is both universal, eating is something we all have to do, and incredibly diverse, in terms of flavors, techniques and what it says about culture. It’s a universally shared routine. I’ve farmed food, I’ve sold produce at markets, and I’ve taught cooking and gardening classes to youth. I thought a food truck could be a good tool for urban farms and community spaces, with ideas like cooking demos, take away recipes, and sampling and sharing of food knowledge, that could contribute to a shared experience in those communal spaces. I don’t like the idea of going into a community assuming there’s one type of food to fit one need- my approach with the food truck is more give and take, more flexibility and mobility, with rotating specials and the ability to move if needed.

In addition I want to share the business platform, I’d love for guest chefs to come in, and show off. I’d love to find other ways that a shop on wheels can benefit more folks in Baltimore.

When I was selling produce at markets my boss always said “we have to make food sexy”. Since then I’ve been obsessed with wearing food (a fried egg necklace, fruit prints etc.)… Wanting to talk about food with more people, influenced me to want to wear more food, which influenced an interest in making food accessories/art.

My mom’s an artists, as are lots of my close friends (although, honestly, I want to say everyone’s an artist in their own right). I’m curious to see if the truck platform will allow for a mobile, flexible art display (the Taharka Bros have done such an amazing job with a mobile book store). I see art as a way to start a conversation, to teach, and to share ideas and love across cultures; all things I see food doing too. I see art as another universal language, and I’d like to find ways the truck can help start a conversation.

Here are some ways that I envision artists being involved with the truck:

1) Small concessions:

I’m working on creating a small bookshelf or display area for bits of art and local products. I don’t imagine carrying anything of greater value than, let’s say, $30. So, things that could easily pop up and be sold (and help spread the word about where more of your creations can be found). Some ideas that could fit in a small display area could be:

  • prints/postcards
  • paper cuts
  • books (poetry, zines and more!)
  • pins
  • Patches
  • small wood works
  • small jewelry wares
  • soaps/body care products
  • pottery mugs or plant hangers
  • small fabric wares
  • small paper-maché things
  • photographs
  • cd’s

The list should go on, and I’m excited to see where it will go.

2) A rotating tarot-styled menu:

I am designing a tangible menu that will be laminated and held together on a ring. The idea is that, while you can certainly see what is for sale on the chalkboard menu or ask the folks in the truck, this will give another tangible way to interact. There are several inspirations around this. To start, I’ve always loved menus at diners that are covered in photographs and drawings and too much text. So in part, this is my homage to an old school classic.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about how people display their work. D. Watkins split the Beast Side into side a and side b like an old cassette tape. Anthony Bourdain split his book up into courses. And while my menu is not a book, I did want it to be a little different than your everyday menu.

Lastly I have been thinking a lot about the erasure of history through “fusion” foods. Because I learned how to cook mostly on farms, and in a Greek and a Mexican kitchen, I’ve been using those influences in creating my menu items. I’m wanting to create playful names for each item, but would like to include more text to explain where my influence is coming from and give credit where credit is due.

Here’s a visual of what I mean: Example Menu Taro CardI thought that this could be a way to rope local artists in.

The idea would be that you would take an hour to draw an image that is evoked by the food you are tasting or the name of the food. We could either sell versions of the drawings/prints as seasonal truck postcards in order to pay you for your work, or I would pay you for the hour of work and for your art. I am currently selling prints with the intention of covering the cost to pay artists for their seasonal menu drawings.  To learn more about the prints, please click here

If you would like to donate the first drawing that would be wonderful, although ideally I want to be making it mutually beneficial. If you want to wait a season to see how well it works, and join for the “eat and crEATe” party for our fall menu, that’s completely understandable!

Between breakfast, lunch and dinner I will need 10 drawings. Because I encourage you to draw based on what you’re tasting there will be a crEATe party on April 23rd at 6:30pm (location TBD, but somewhere in Baltimore). If you’re interested in selling your goods, drawing a menu item, or participating in a discussion about how art can be incorporated on the food truck, please message me. This will also be a wonderful opportunity for me to get feedback on my menu items!
Wilde Thyme is only going to get better with communal input and creativity. I want to thank Angela Carroll for inspiring the event to eat and create, it’s ideas like these that are going to help Wilde Thyme flourish.

It’s also her beautiful art that encourages me to keep going on the daily:

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