Each growing season the Grill Benzie food truck operates as an incubator for local chefs/entrepreneurs looking to test out their ideas and concepts in our local community. The Grill Benzie food truck can be found at local farmers markets and festivals around northern Michigan, and is available for catering private parties and events. The truck promotes healthful foods by utilizing fresh, local ingredients- sometimes grown as close as 100 ft away from the food truck when serving at the Grow Benzie Monday Farmers Market! We utilize our on-site commercial kitchen for preparing food for big jobs, where we also utilize the opportunity to teach culinary job skills to local youth and volunteers. Grill Benzie also visits schools, villages, and organizations for cooking demos and bringing our mobile farmers market trailer. The truck serves Grow Benzie's entire mission of connecting people to healthful foods, jobs, life skills and each other.
READ ABOUT THE FOOD TRUCK HISTORY AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE
Last year, Grow Benzie partnered with Chef Loghan Call who recently launched his own business, Planted Cuisine and will be slinging "local street food" throughout the region!
2018 Food Truck Manager, Chef Loghan Call & His Approach to "Local Street Food"
Chef Loghan is bringing local food to the forefront in the Grow Benzie food truck for the 2018 growing season!
The Grow Benzie food truck will feature an ever changing menu that honors the best local produce and products from our farms and businesses in the Northern Michigan region.
Chef Loghan Call is in the beginning stages of starting his own food company, Planted Cuisine, which is committed to helping create a localized regenerative food system in the region. Being picked as the food truck manager at Grow Benzie has created the perfect opportunity to engage with our communities throughout the region.
Success from Loghan’s perspective is to see our communities make food the number one priority in our lives once again. After cooking throughout Southern California, and Southern Missouri, Loghan chose Northern Michigan as the place to land and build the model for a regenerative food system in large part due to the diverse and passionate food and farming community established in the region.
The food that Loghan and his team will be slinging is street food with seasonality and nutrient densi- ty in mind. Chef Loghan believes that we can achieve optimal health in part, through mindful eating practices while enjoying the delicious flavors and foods. The first step in creating the menu’s you will soon see, was establishing personal relationships with all of the local farmers and producers who share the same commitment toward building a localized, regenerative food system.
You won’t see avocados on the menu, or tomatoes until tomato season. Loghan is committed to educating and inspiring customers to enjoy the produce that is currently in season and appreciate the vast diversity of crops grown in the area. If a particular vegetable or product is no longer available locally, it will be off the menu and replaced by one that is.
99% of all produce will be sourced within the local region. 85% of all dried goods will be sourced within Michigan. Only a select handful of products such as grains, nuts and oils will be sourced out of state, and even then, Loghan is committed to sourcing from producers using regenerative practices and/or perennial production as close to the Mitten state as possible.
Along with its committed to our local economy, the menu will be entirely plant-based. While Loghan believes that meat will always play a role in the local region, there are few people out there who don’t recognize the urgent need to bring vegetables and grains to the forefront of our food choices. By only providing plant-based offerings, the idea is to force our hands a bit to experience how delicious an entire meal can be without animal products of any kind.
Please check out our calendar so you can meet us on the road! LINK: Grow Benzie Food Truck Schedule (calendar is on Loghan's site, Planted Cuisine)
Below are the current menu's we are offering. Please note that our offerings are based purely on what our wonderful farming partners are providing us, and therefore, it can change quickly!
Goodwill Industries purchased the food truck in 2014 for their MI Fresh Start job training program. After two seasons, and a crowding market in Traverse City, Goodwill offered the opportunity for Grow Benzie to lease the truck in 2016 for job training and pursuing Grow Benzie’s mission of “connecting people to healthful foods, jobs, life skills and each other.” We received grants to help us pay for a part-time manager and other operating costs, plus received a generous beef donation from the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. In addition to Grow Benzie and Elberta Farmers Markets, you could find our truck at private parties and weddings, festivals (Arcadia Daze, Frankfort Art/Craft), regional events including Kalkaska’s Conservation District annual, 4th of July in Frankfort and the Benzie Historical Society annual party, music venues including St. Ambrose Cellars and Iron Fish Distillery, and the Sarah Hardy Farmers Market in Traverse City where we led demonstrations utilizing produce purchased from on-site vendors.
Understanding the risk involved with such an enterprise, particularly as a non-profit, Grow Benzie shifted from an employee/employer relationship in 2016 with our truck manager, to an incubator model in 2017 (similar to our farmer partnership). We're able to provide marketing, networking, and financial support for entrepreneurs to learn all aspects of operating a food truck while also earning a profit for future endeavors.
In 2017, Chef Hayden focused on private caterings and big events such as Electric Forest and Spirit of the Woods Festivals. A year later, Chef Loghan dedicated his summer to promoting his plant-based menu and company “Planted Cuisine” at pop up events and regularly scheduled venues including Stormcloud Brewing Company.