Carnivore – Omnivore – Herbivore …Locavore?
By Amy Huo, Locavore Mobile Kitchen
Jeffrey Kluger, senior writer at Time magazine, wrote in 2012, “Is there anything sadder than the foods of the 1950s? Canned, frozen, packaged concoctions, served up by the plateful, three meals per day, in an era in which the supermarket was king, the farmer’s market was, well, for farmers, and the word locavore sounded vaguely like a mythical beast. We knew far less of flavor or freshness or artisanal excellence than we do now. We were culinary rubes and too clueless even to know it.”
Though canned, prepacked, and frozen concoctions are here to stay, I’d like to think that using the word locavore doesn’t cause folks to screw up their faces and stare blankly in confusion anymore. So what does locavore mean? According to various historical accounts, locavore was a term invented by Jessica Price in 2005 (chef, writer and co-founder of Three Stone Hearth, a community supported kitchen cooperative in Berkeley, California) meaning “one who eats a diet consisting of chiefly locally grown and produced foods.” And that very reason is why I created the Locavore Mobile Kitchen based here in Eau Claire.
The goal of the Locavore is to prepare dishes with the absolute freshest ingredients, and bring meals packed with local ingredients to guests in a delicious and approachable way. To accomplish, I am happy to spread the word that I will be parked at the Eau Claire Downtown Farmers Market every Saturday all summer long. I will also be doing events all over Eau Claire, and I look forward to the City of Eau Claire creating a Food Truck night sometime this summer! In addition to the dozens of farmers with whom I have built a relationship over the past two years, I will be adding many new farmers and am always looking for more. The benefits of supporting farmers and producers in the Chippewa Valley come back ten fold, possibly more. Thus, the Locavore Mobile Kitchen will be the first of its kind—a food trailer preparing 80% local ingredients. Eating at the Locavore supports many farmers and producers, and encourages a production system that is sustainable and resilient on many levels. Simply put, money spent locally stays in the community.
Many have asked, “What’s on the menu this early in the season? Nothing is growing yet!” In truth, numerous farmers in the area are already growing fresh greens for salads, spinach, scallions and radishes in their high tunnels this season! We’ll offer fresh vegetables like these as a salad or skewered and deep-fried in a gluten-free, vegan tempura all season long. We plan to offer a unique baby burger patty—termed the “Locaburger”—that will be a combination of grass-fed and pastured local meat and fat that will melt in your mouth. It could be lamb, beef, pork, or even poultry depending on what is available. The Locaburger holds a smaller burger patty lending the opportunity for guests to choose their own toppings if they take advantage of the discounted triple order. Various pickles and sauces mean that every guest can curate his or her own burger experience! Vegans and vegetarians can find offerings such as the vegan Locaburger—a roasted root vegetable steak such as beet, squash, or sweet potato, vegan ketchup and herb dressings and a selection of sides. Root vegetables have been well-stored by our farmers over the winter and their sweetness only enhanced by roasting. Since our fryer will be entirely gluten-free and we will offer romaine lettuce wraps, those with celiac can enjoy almost everything on the menu! We are truly offering something for everyone.
Join us! Become a Locavore and support your neighbors, the farmers, and producers of the Chippewa Valley starting May 5 at the Eau Claire Downtown Farmers Market!