By Alanna Dvorak | Loudon Times
While the bright red truck glimmers in the sunlight, the two women inside the vehicle furiously toss together different meals. The aromas meld together: pea pesto pasta, Reubens and their token jackfruit barbecue sandwich. And while the red truck offers plenty of distinction on its own, the Randy Radish has another differentiation: they’re totally vegan.
Veganism is much like vegetarianism; however, vegans eschew all animal food products, including dairy, egg and honey. Though the Randy Radish is by definition vegan, owners Nancy Jezior and Sharon Lindblad prefer the term “plant-based cuisine.”
“We didn’t put vegan on anything because it has such a negative connotation for people,” Lindblad said. “We really want to change that perception.”
Jezior went vegetarian in 2003, initially for health reasons. Veganism followed about seven years later, and Lindblad joined as way to support her friend.
From there, the women and their interest in vegan cuisine blossomed. Jezior had always enjoyed tinkering in the kitchen, but the women took their cooking to the next level, receiving a certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell and attending a plant-based culinary school in New Jersey once a month. They will graduate from the New Jersey school this June.
Jezior and Lindblad had discussed opening up a restaurant or a bakery and in the fall, the women finally mobilized and ultimately settled with a food truck after watching Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race.”
“We thought the food truck would be an easier, less capital involved, an easier way to get started and [a way] to see how this area would respond to this type of food without getting a brick and mortar establishment,” Jezior said.
The women acquired a truck in January that was already designed with food in mind.
“It was pre-built for someone else, but that fell through, so we kind of swooped in and took it,” Jezior said.
After finding some recipes to introduce, the new food truck just needed a name.
“We were looking for something that was a little provocative but not offensive,” Lindblad explained. After finding the Naked Carrot was already taken, a friend suggested the Randy Radish. With that, a new company was born.
The Randy Radish debuted at the annual Leesburg Flower and Garden festival. In just two days, the Randy Radish served more than 600 people.
Since the Flower and Garden Show, the Randy Radish has parked itself in both Leesburg and Ashburn. It has a regular spot in the Wednesday evening Leesburg farmer’s market on Catoctin Circle and has received numerous inquiries to appear at different community events.
The procedure is largely the same for all events. First, the women prepare the food fresh at a commercial kitchen in Sterling. Then, they load up the truck and drive to the people.
The first month hasn’t been without its struggles; the truck was out of commission for repairs for roughly a month and the women have had to pick and choose where to park the truck as to not disturb local businesses. But ultimately, the women say the community has been largely receptive to the Randy Radish – vegan and all.
For now, the women are concentrated on the food truck but hope to have a second truck next year and a potential Randy Radish franchise in the future. Jezior and Lindblad are even mulling over a casual restaurant or bakery.
For now, the women are content to share the joys of vegetarian food with the Loudoun community.