Food vans: the evolution of a revolution

Chugging along nicely: Faraway Farm Foods kombucha and fermented foods owners Nicky Harris and Chris Aitken. Photo: Rachel Mounsey
Chugging along nicely: Faraway Farm Foods kombucha and fermented foods owners Nicky Harris and Chris Aitken. Photo: Rachel Mounsey

When Blake Paxton started her mobile catering business "Sapphire Coast Eats" two years ago, she never imagined it would take off like it has.

Originally from Sydney, she saw a gap in the South Coast foodie market and thought grazing tables (popular in Sydney) were worth a shot.

Ms Paxton uses her artistic flair to combine a mixture of in-season- locally grown and sourced ingredients creating grazing tables and boxes that she says are not only a consumable feast but also a feast for the eyes.

Catering for anything weddings, parties - even funerals, her business, to her surprise, is booming. More than she had predicted.

"I wanted to work around family, I didn't realise it would be so busy. I thought I'd just do it sometimes. I am booked out most weekends and last year I worked everyday- I 've actually had to cut back a bit, it's been amazing," Ms Paxton said, inbetween preparing for a busy weekend.

The latest addition to her business, a wood fired pizza oven trailer, has made her business boom even more.

Last year at Merimbula's EAT festival, foodies consumed 720 large portion slices of her gourmet pizzas.

Ms Paxton said the gourmet food trailer's success could be due to the fact that she keeps it local and simple.

"The whole menu is sourced locally and if I cant get it locally then I only use Australian made," she said.

Local and seasonal seems to be a motto many of the South Coast food van's vendors live by.

Farway Farm's Foods food van menu is almost entirely made up of food produced on their one hundred acre permaculture farm out of Brogo, and what's not, is sourced from around the region.

Nicky Harris and Chris Aitken are passionate about good health and not so passionate about processed foods. The words, "good health begins in the gut: be well" written on small blackboard takes centre place on their stainless steel counter.

"People are becoming very sick from consuming too much processed food. We want to spread good health and people to be healthy."

The van specialises in fermented food "gut foods," like sauerkrauts and kimchi as well as naturally flavoured kombucha that can be purchased on tap.

Originally selling seasonal fruit and vegetables at markets, the couple moved into the business of selling their homemade krauts and kombucha as a way to offer something else to fill the gap between seasons.

Since opening up the van last October, their message of good health seems to have caught on.

"We are often thanked by people at festivals and markets. They are happy there is a wholefood option. A place where they can eat out."

A key driver in the Far South Coast food truck revolution is Eden woman Clair Mudliar, who believes the sky is the limit when it comes to food trucks.

Although being completely booked out since opening her mobile wine and cocktail bar "Peisleys" last November, she is always thinking of new ways to use her quaint tear dropped shaped van.

"I love that I don't have to be stuck to one thing. I can serve cocktails at weddings and mocktails at kids parties. I can serve devonshire teas if I want to," she said.

Ms Mudliar said the food truck revolution is gaining traction on the Far South Coast and is an exciting way to bring people together.

"It's kicked off in major cities and we are catching up. A couple of years ago there was only a handful around the Bega Valley and now there seems to be loads."

"The latest thing I've heard from the States(USA) is that people are having food truck weddings - now that would be something," she said.

For a taste of the food truck revolution head on down to Food Truck Friday where a variety of food vans will be serving up dinner alongside local musician Chelsy Atkins at Spencer Park, Merimbula on Friday June 28, from 5pm - 9pm.

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