A recent poll by Mobile Cuisine reported about 66 percent of food truck owners purchase their ingredients at big-box membership stores like Costco and Sam’s Club, while 34 percent purchase from local farmers. A few food trucks on Main Campus are among that 34 percent. Their owners said they feel local ingredients allow for greater menu diversity and fresher, better-tasting dishes.
One such business, Sexy Green Truck on Montgomery Avenue, purchases its ingredients from locations around Bensalem Township in Bucks County, Pa. Owners said all of the vegetables found in the truck’s sandwiches and wraps are local and organic, and the eggs used are cage-free. Sexy Green Truck owner Selim Zeka said he believes local ingredients are an important aspect of his business.
“Since I own a food truck that is local to the Philadelphia area, I want to use local ingredients,” Zeka said. “I want to support other businesses the same way that mine is supported.”
While using ingredients from farms just outside of the metropolitan area is popular with some truck owners, there are a few trucks whose owners prefer to keep their purchases within city limits. Owners of Eddie’s Pizza at the 12th Street Food Pad said they acquire all of the meat and vegetables used on its menu from providers within the Philadelphia area. Sarah Haiuni, co-owner of the business she runs with her husband, said investing in ingredients from nearby sources is partly what makes their business successful.
They do their best to keep to that standard, Haiuni said, though sometimes they can’t maintain it when the need for ingredients is pressing.
“It’s important to buy local because we invest in our business with time and money, so we want to do the same for other businesses,” Haiuni said.
The Burger and Cheese Busz, now owned by Peter Shin, also purchases from locations that are close by. The fresh, unfrozen beef used for burgers is delivered from Esposito’s Meats in the Italian Market every morning, Shin said.
“Fresh ingredients are the key,” Shin said. “If I can’t keep it fresh, and if there isn’t enough demand for something to keep it fresh, we do not sell it.”
For the food businesses on Main Campus that have simpler ingredient requirements for their menu, local and organic ingredients are not always a priority. Michael Sigal, owner of the Bagel Shop at 13th Street and Polett Walk, said he doesn’t think it’s necessary for the product he offers.
“The places that I shop at have good stuff, but it’s not organic or anything like that,” Sigal said. “Plus, you can’t really go to farms around this time [of year] anyway since most are closed.”
Along with meat and vegetables, some trucks offer local and organic beverages. There are more than 11 coffee roasters within Philadelphia, two of which are used by truck owners on Main Campus. Philly Fair Trade Roasters is served by Sexy Green Truck and Re-Animator Coffee is served by Cloud Coffee. Both roasters’ blends are served at various local cafés and are available for purchase at farmers’ markets as well.
Cloud Coffee owners Kristen Mills and Matthew Craig said they aim to serve everything local, from lattes to bagels.
“Everything that’s in here is from within a couple miles,” Craig said. “Besides things like coffee filters and napkins and all that, we’re as local as possible.”
Ariane Pepsin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.