The Food Biz: Farm is on a roll

Blackbird Heritage brings local meats to the city via a spiffy food truck

One of the more unique recent additions to Nashville’s fleet of food trucks is the Blackbird Heritage truck. It’s the first Nashville mobile food vendor I know of that’s an extension of a local farm.

Blackbird Heritage Sustainable Farming is located in rural College Grove in Williamson County. Owners Andy and Sherri Roddick raise heritage breeds of sheep and pigs, and all the meat they produce is USDA certified organic.

The food truck is a way for the farm to show off its product, whether it’s the house bacon, Italian sausage or lamb sausage.

“Our truck is unique. We take sourcing ‘local’ food to a new level ... we grow it,” the farm proclaims on its website, where customers can also order meat or arrange for the truck to cater breakfast for meetings or social get-togethers.

And the shiny aqua food truck has a secret weapon — the accomplished young chef the Roddicks recently recruited to run it. Elyssa Young is a 2010 graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. She said her career focus has always been farm-to-table cooking, and she was pleased to join the Roddicks’ team, moving to Nashville three months ago.

“Nashville’s definitely a foodie town, but it’s up-and-coming, and I like that,” Young said. She grew up in the Philadelphia area but has grandparents in Georgia and North Carolina, so she knows her way around a biscuit, in addition to the classical culinary training she got up North.

On a recent day, Young and truck manager Jamie Kiner were serving up a hearty sweet potato bisque, the house BLT, and a hot sandwich in a crisp bun with lamb sausage and a Mediterranean-style yogurt sauce. Follow @bbheritage on Twitter for the truck’s locations and updates.

 

ALSO: Meanwhile, Blackbird Heritage and at least 14 other trucks have a special destination this Saturday, Jan. 14: the first FEASTival gathering organized by Wanderland Urban Food Park.

Wanderland is an events planning company focusing on food trucks. Director Holley Seals has set up the party for 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday in a private parking lot on the corner of Rosa L. Parks Boulevard and Jefferson Street in Germantown, not far from the Nashville Farmers’ Market.

Seals sees her business as helping promote the food truck scene, with “public and private event management, marketing, municipal outreach, permit facilitation and truck design and execution.”

For food trucks, “municipal outreach” may be seen to be a key factor following a year in which the city’s attempts to sort out rules for mobile vendors led to crowded public hearings where critics sounded off, some representing bricks-and-mortar restaurants accusing the trucks of having an unfair business advantage. Ultimately, the regulation issue was deferred indefinitely.

In other cities where food trucks have taken hold, the trucks hold frequent gatherings to showcase their diverse wares and make it easy for curious diners to learn what the trend is all about.

In addition to Blackbird Heritage, trucks at the FEASTival include Jonbalaya, DegThai, The Grilled Cheeserie, Yayo’s O.M.G., Riff’s, Rollin’ & Smokin’, Sum Yum Yum, The Hot Spot, The Latin Wagon, Hoss’ Loaded Burgers, Labor of Love, Smoke Et Al, The Coffee Truck and Dixie Belle’s Cupcakes. More may be added.

And Seals is promising additional Wanderland gatherings in February at Elmington Park. For updates, visit wanderlandfoodpark.com or follow @WanderlandNash on Twitter.

 

• Finally, another sign that food trucks can eventually make the transition to bricks-and-mortar restaurant, if that’s their goal: Bang Candy Co. — whose truck showcases their artisan marshmallows and flavored syrups (like the powerful and piquant habanero-lime) for jazzing up cocktails or making exotic sodas — has just opened a store and cafe.

The Bang Candy Co. shop opened last week at 1300 Clinton St., Suite 127, in the Marathon Village development. They’ve been serving up hot soup and paninis in addition to their “sugary delights for the adventurous palate.”