October 21, 2014 – Santa Cruz surfers rejoice! The Truck Stop—a fixture at the Live Oak Farmers’ Market—was just granted a concession to operate its popular food truck at Lighthouse Field State Beach.
Owner Fran Grayson says she’ll fire up the stoves within the next week or two in a space located between the lighthouse and the west parking lot.
“I want to serve the surfing community,” says Grayson, who with business partner Juan Cuevas also owns Branch Out Farm in Soquel. “I live on the Westside and we surf there at Steamer’s Lane, so it was a natural place to locate the truck.”
Grayson approached the California State Parks Department for the concession about a year ago and says the process was easier than she expected, “They didn’t drag me through the wringer, they were onboard from day one. It was a really positive experience.”
The Truck Stop—a Sunday institution at the Live Oak Farmers’ Market had previously attracted a strong following at a Mission St. location they shared with the now-defunct Filling Station—serves up sustainable, local, organic dishes featuring produce grown at Branch Out Farm. It is known for hearty breakfast tacos, chilaquiles, arepas and a brown rice bowl called Kimchi Thang.
“We’ll probably scale back our menu and offer fewer items,” says Grayson. “But we’re planning to serve breakfast and lunch and maybe do occasional dinner events.”
Grayson says they will be there at sunrise with hot coffee and light fare as the surfers prepare to go out. Then offer more substantial filling dishes for when they return. “We’re so close to the waves, they won’t even have to take off their wetsuits,” she says.
Organic kale, beets, carrots and winter squash will all come from her own farm, while the rest of the ingredients will be sourced from Route 1 Farm and other local farms.
Grayson says she’ll staff the Truck Stop with former employees from her days on Mission Street and with graduates of the Food What!? program at UCSC’s Life Lab.
Despite the new undertaking, she hopes to be able to keep her business at Live Oak Farmer’s Market going as well, using a tent and a big open grill. “We have a lot of fans there and I feel very loyal to our customers,” she said.
Will the Santa Cruz surfing community embrace the fresh farm-to-truck concept? “They’re generally a healthy lot,” says Grayson, “but that remains to be seen.”