The Harvest Truck
CSA powerhouse unveils organic meals on wheels
A food truck, like a restaurant, is a logical vehicle for a farmer to add value to his or her product. It seems like an obvious idea, but until the Skarsgard Farms’ Harvest Truck got on the road, no area farms had stepped up to that plate. Now a month into this endeavor, farm/truck owner Monte Skarsgard has a contract with UNM to sell food at the Duck Pond five days a week starting in August. He says he already has plans for a fleet of trucks.
Skarsgard Farms is the new name for the farm and CSA formerly known as Los Poblanos Organics. In January the operation moved from its former home at Los Poblanos Historic Inn and struck out on new ground. Skarsgard Farms, which is also organic, takes up 40 South Valley acres, compared to the 3 that were under cultivation at Los Poblanos. The extra space is much-needed, as it supports an astounding 3,800 active CSA members—plus another 1,200 occasional members. (A big part of how Monte and co. have been able to feed so many people is through partnerships with farms in Colorado, California, Mexico and other places—the organic, non-local produce augments the Skarsgard CSA boxes.)
The Harvest Truck can sell food anywhere it can legally park. But so far it’s been sticking to the Los Ranchos Growers’ Market on Saturdays between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. Skarsgard says this is the truck’s soft opening.
Two of us showed up one Saturday to find a farmy-looking girl who took our order and gave it to the cook inside. The menu is small, and it varies according to what’s available. We started with a strawberry salad, which was of a size that many would consider overwhelming. It was a huge pile of some of the freshest greens in existence, with ripe strawberries, chunks of green chile goat cheese and a dish of poppy seed dressing. Even with help from a black belt in salad inhalation, it took us a while to work through that pile of greens.
We followed it with a breakfast burrito and a turkey wrap. The burrito was packed with bright yellow, freshly scrambled eggs—I’d guess three—that had been cooked with green chile and greens, along with a side of fresh salsa. It was a basic burrito, but simple in this case was preferable. We could taste the flavors of each high-quality ingredient. My only regret is not ordering the meat option: sausage made from Skarsgard Farms’ 50 or so pigs.
“The pigs eat well,” Skarsgard explains, “which makes a high-quality ingredient at a good price.”
In addition to thickly sliced white meat, the turkey wrap had some kind of herby pesto, along with brie, homegrown tomatoes and salad mix, and some of the crispiest avocado I’ve ever eaten. Crunchy is not my preferred way to consume avocado, but it didn’t hurt here. If I were to order it again I’d request green chile and mayo in the turkey wrap. (Come to think of it, I say that about almost everything I order, anywhere.)
Even if your belly is completely full, this truck serves the kind of food that makes you feel light after eating it. And it puts most restaurants to shame in the drink department. No sacchariney sweet soda fountain drinks here—on our visit, the Harvest Truck was pouring fresh lemonade, smoothies to order and sun-brewed ice coffee that was easily the best ever.
We enjoyed these delicacies at communal tables shaded by an awning. Across the aisle at market, the Skarsgard Farms’ stand was set up next to its produce delivery truck, which still bears the LPO emblem. If the Harvest Truck runs out of onions or greens during the lunch rush, restocking is as simple as walking 20 feet.
That’s by design. The menu will always be dictated by freshness and flexibility, says Skarsgard. “One week the breakfast burrito might have asparagus, another week zucchini, and then chard and bell peppers,” he says. “It’s going to be like ‘Iron Chef’ every day, depending on what’s fresh.”