The Green Truck debuted in San Diego this March at an Ocean Beach block party and has since been “Healing Our Planet One Meal at a Time” at eco-fairs, catered events, and across town at locations updated via Twitter and Facebook.
“So much food is just frozen, processed stuff coated in a weird flurry of chemicals and fried in hydrogenated oil,” says Holtze. “In the Green Truck, everything comes from scratch, nothing is frozen, and the produce is a seasonal selection from local organic farmers.”
The Green Truck, which the San Diego Union Tribune has named #1 in town, primarily sources its food from Suzy’s Organic Farm in Nestor, Sage Mountain in Hemet, and the occasional farmer’s market find.
“We’re very close to getting a spot at the weekly farmers market in Hillcrest, which is one of my favorites,” says Holtze. “We’re also adding more regular stops in January.”
The Green Truck started about six years ago in Los Angeles by Holtze’s colleagues Mitchell Collier and Kam Miceli.
“It was the original gourmet food truck in L.A.,” says Holtze. “A lot of people associate LA food trucks with Kogi, but they actually opened after Green Truck.”
In addition to their focus on local, organic produce, the Green Truck runs on a bio-diesel generator (the Los Angeles headquarters is solar powered) which is fueled by the truck’s cooking oil, uses only recyclable or compostable packaging and utensils, and sends compostables to their source farms.
“Last year I had basically the same idea,” says Holtze. “I was always passionate about organics and trying to help the planet, and I wanted to a sustainable eco food truck. Then I found Green Truck and I was very persistent in meeting with them. I did not know then that so many people around the world were interested in what Green Truck was doing. Every day they were getting emails from all over but they wern’t ready to become a franchise (Green Truck has since expanded to include New York). But we finally met, everything clicked, and It’s been a good working relationship ever since.”
Now you can find the Green Truck about town, offering gourmet fries, local salads, and meals such as their staple Mother Trucker vegan burger – the coach’s “anti-Big Mac”, a made-from-scratch medley of vegetables, chick peas, coriander, Braggs, and seasonings made into a patty topped with Suzie’s sunflower sprouts, heirloom tomato, and the house Veganaise and beet-based Trucker sauce.
“The seasonal eggplant tacos have been popular,” says Holtze. “They’re Mediterranean style on a handmade corn tortilla with local heirloom eggplant grilled with garlic, hummus, arugula, tomato, basil pesto, and a goat’s milk feta.”
Because the truck is focused on green eats, you might assume that Holtze serves a strictly vegetarian fare, but he generally has one or two meat items on the menu – always grain free, organic, and as local as possible.
“We get Paso Prime beef from Paso Robles,” says Hotlze. “It’s pretty much the highest quality beef you can find. The reason that grass-fed is important is because cows weren’t meant to eat corn; they were meant to eat grass. Corn makes them get fat faster, but it also breeds E. coli. If you wiped out grain, you’d eliminate 80 percent of E.coli in beef. We grow so much grain to feed animals so that we can eat them. Grass has less of an impact on the environment. The cows fertilize the grass and eat the grass. But beyond the ethical thing, it tastes the best. We get it within 48 hours of the slaughter.”
With a website proclaiming “green is the new black,” the Green Truck has been well-received by patrons of San Diego’s bourgeoning food truck community.
“I’d say about half of our customers are already into what we’re doing,” says Holtze.
“My idea was to appeal to a broad audience; people who may not know anything about sustainability and why green food is important. We do a lot of office parks, where people might not know about organic farms and composting, so we are reaching out to them. There are other people where we are more preaching to the choir. It’s about 50/50. It gives us a unique opportunity.”