2017 and the Goal of Sustainability

Our goal was to create a business model that reflected our personal values. We wanted to own stake in, to contribute to, and to be a steward of the greater good. So we did a little thinking and came to the decision that long work weeks with little compensation and less sleep paved the road to something greater than ourselves.  2016 offered up its fair share of obstacles and triumphs, and we have come to the understanding that now, more than ever, building a business model on the principals of sustainability is crucial to contributing to the world in which we live. That's why we are continuing our effort to make a significant and positive contribution to the earth, and our home state of Arkansas.

Building a responsible business - one that is intrinsically ethical - isn't the easiest dream to assemble. However, we believe that one day, when our own children inquire about our contributions to the natural world and the world of economics, we'll be able to say: "Momma Tried," or something of the sort. That's what motivates us the most... the legacy that we leave behind is the absolute most important component of our business. We are proud to be able to say: "We give a care."

So, this year, we are doing more than ever to ensure that the mark we leave on this world is one that honors our children and the world that we leave behind for them. How we are doing that, you might wonder as you read this...

:::First, we compost.

Composting is simply the process of turning organic matter into really good dirt.  Basically, organic materials like vegetable matter, garden refuse, eggshells, coffee grinds, tea bags, and our compostable plates are placed in our compost piles to decompose. Over time, these materials turn into a nutrient rich form of soil that is absolutely chock-full of vitamins and will nurture our own gardens. Amazingly, compost can also have the power to ward off harmful pests. In other words, healthy soil yields healthy plants, and really delicious fruits and vegetables... and we are all about those wonderful Arkansas Tomatoes you've been dreaming about all winter long.

 

:::Second, we are committed to using compostable dishes.

Using compostable and biodegradable dishes ensures that our contribution to our overflowing landfills is minimal. It's not cost effective, and it's not making our lives any easier... but we're pretty darn proud of this decision and the effort we're putting forth in order to make this initiative happen. We are dead set on reducing the amount plastics and non-biodegradable products that we use simply because we know that they're not going anywhere anytime soon, and we don't want to leave our kids with a trashy world, right? So, we've started with compostable plates and bowls, and we are making every effort to expand that to the way that we source our utensils and cups.

For more information as to why you should kick styrofoam to the curb (figuratively, of course), check this link out:

 https://thisgreenearth.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/toxic-take-out-styrofoam-boxes-food-cancer/

:::Third, we microwave NOTHING

To be completely forthcoming, we'd love to have a microwave on The WunderBus. It would lessen the time between the order window and the service window, reduce the amount of work we put into assembling and heating our dishes, and it would be easier on us in just about every way one could imagine. Alas, the thought of having a microwave on board gives us the here jeebies. Here's why: http://www.mercola.com/article/microwave/hazards2.htm

So now that we've scared you...

:::Fourth, we contribute to non-profits that work to protect the environment.

One of our most precious assets, and truly the most necessary resource to which we have access, is water. Our nation's water supply is billions of years in the making, and vital to our existence. Every aspect of our lives - our own water consumption, the beer, coffee and other luxury beverages we consume, the food we eat, the flowers we enjoy - is dependent upon the quality of our water. Water that contains high levels of toxins is directly related to a slew of illnesses and learning disabilities. So it is of the utmost importance that we do everything in our power to protect this resource and we are committed to contributing to groups that are fighting for the right of every Arkansan to fresh, clean water! 

For more information about those fighting the Diamond Pipeline, check out:  http://www.arkansasrising.net 

 

:::Fifth, we recycle, Ya'll!

This comes right back to the issue of our overflowing landfills and that pile of trash in the ocean. And while it's time consuming, thankless work, we feel that it's really the right thing to do. 

 See this link: http://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/

::: Six, we support local agriculture.

From the very beginning, our first priority was to support local and sustainable farming practices. In doing so, we are able to develop relationships with local farmers and their families, contribute to their prosperity (if only a little), feed our children really healthy food, and reduce our dependance on the mass agriculture machine. Yes, it's more expensive, and yes... it is worth every dime! One of the motivating factors behind this decision was what we came to understand about the way the mass agriculture functioned in our society, and how it has impacted our health and our environment. If you don't know much about those huge chicken, pig, and cattle farms you're passing on the highway, perhaps it's time to do a little digging. We're certain that the more you learn about their reckless and cruel practices and the way that those practices affect the natural world, the more you'll be ready to invest in local and sustainable farms.

Here's just a few resources to get you started on this eye-opening journey:

http://firstwefeast.com/eat/best-food-documentaries-that-you-should-watch-right-now/

http://michaelpollan.com/books/cooked/

https://www.farmsanctuary.org/learn/factory-farming/

::: Seven, kind of healthy junk food.

Tying this all together, one of our goals was to create dishes and menus that featured locally and sustainably sourced products that appealed to those looking for the "food truck experience." Many associate food trucks with the widely used term, "Roach Coach." This can best be described as "A barf buggy. An industrial catering truck." (Taken from Urbandictionary.com) Simply put, that's a business that prepares nasty food in a less than sanitary environment. We can keep a kitchen clean, we know that much, but the challenge is always to create food that appeals to the American diet while remaining steadfast and true to our values in terms of quality and taste. It's a fine line to walk, but we think it's worth our trouble.

To sum it all up, our children are really important to us, and we have every intention of doing what is right for them... and that's why we're in this business. 

 

 

 

 

 


 

The Ethics of Pickles.

It's just a pickle, right?

Pickles are simple, beautiful things, best enjoyed in the company of those we love. They are salty and sour, sometimes crisp, sometimes sweet. But what's in a pickle?

Who picked your pickle? Who sliced it and put it in that jar? Who was behind the seasoning? We probably don't ask ourselves questions like these too often. Even an experienced pickle enthusiast might settle for the common "Bread and Butter," found on a shelf of our favorite grocery store. But really, have you given that pickle the thought it requires to be savored to the fullest of its capacity?

Well, our feeling is that pickles are a wonderful metaphor for just about any other food or product one might purchase. Such a simple and enjoyable treat as a pickle or an apple, or indeed, a loaf of bread is made all the more lovely by virtue of its origins.  And so, into every menu we create is an investment, a labor of love, an effort to do something right... right down to the pickles. 

We are committed to sourcing the best produce and meats, relishes, jams and jellies that our beautiful state has to offer. That's why we're working with local farm to source those mighty cucumbers, the succulent meat products, and sweet spreads that you'll find us serving on any old day. By doing so, we are hoping to sustain the artisans and farmers that keep Arkansas interesting. So, when you purchase food from us, not only are you supporting two families who love our state and are committed to keeping it beautiful, but you are also supporting a host of farmers, beekeepers, brewers, and artisans and their families. 

Isn't is nice to know that you can do can help to fuel the local economy, support sustainable farming practices, and feed families.. just by dining with us?

In that sense, a pickle is not a simple thing. It is an experience that is connected to the communities around us -  it becomes this powerful agent of change - a thing to behold, really! 

So, relish in the fact that you are a world changer, a cog in the great wheel of commerce, a revolutionary of sorts. We believe when you invest in small, sustainable business, you're helping to make the world a more beautiful place for your children and ours.

Think about that next time you're enjoying a pickle!

The WunderBus Gets A Makeover

The most beautiful thing about starting from scratch - where cakes, or french onion soup, or business is concerned - is that every ingredient, every idea, every thought has an opportunity to be transformed into a tangible, and perhaps delicious thing.  That idea, is then, a jumping off point for a new reality. And with each cup of sugar, or brick, or whatever component of our manifest construct - each layer, each addition to that dream becomes something more, something delicious, something worth sharing with the people you love the most.

So, I suppose that this food truck business is not just about cakes or sausages, or even utilizing locally sourced ingredients or doing things the "right" way, whatever our definition of "right" happens to be - but this venture, this adventure, is about becoming better versions of ourselves and seeing that transformation all the way into the rest of the world. Doing business is largely an extension of our private selves, and while we are driven to become better people, we find it more and more a critical part of our personal edification to carry those principles out into the world of commerce. 

The concept for The Wunderbus began with the dream of an enterprise which is fueled by everything we already love - beer, food, and most of all, family. The ultimate goal was to be the very first Brew Farm in Arkansas - while that title is held by our friends at Prestonrose Brewing and Farm, we are moving toward being the second (or third) brew farm in Arkansas - with a grocery store/deli and a garden from which we source heirloom and organically grown produce, and perhaps even room for events. After an evening of dreaming, my fiance and I sat down to "Netflix and Chill." Our version of this new pastime involves TED talks, and cooking shows predominately, with a nice mix of documentaries. It is, thanks to the unfriendly Winter weather here in Arkansas, and to our sleeping newborn, that we were introduced to a mini- documentary called "Chef's Table," and the concept of Dan Brown's "Blue Hill at Stone Barns" in New York state. If you aren't familiar with this enterprise, I highly recommend that you take a little time to be inspired. For it is then that my eyes were first opened to idea of a totally sustainable enterprise - one that did good in the world, for the world, and ushered the dining experience into the new world (where it has become accessible to those who perhaps might have been disinterested), by adopting old world practices. 

So first, it was the dream of living on a small, bio-dynamic farm - this could have been prompted by our combined years of home gardening, and our need to quell what seems to be an ever expanding appetite for the renowned "freshly picked tomato." I will add that if you have any experience with growing your own tomatoes (or anything for that matter), there is absolutely nothing like the multi-sensory experience of picking and consuming a warm sun-kissed tomato. Maybe really a really wonderful love-making session. Maybe that compares.

Now that we know how our business model could look, and that such a vast and all encompassing enterprise can be brought into fruition...

How are we going to do all of this? How do we do business responsibly, ethically? How do we move from being home-steaders to entrepreneurs?

The answer is simultaneously simple and complex - it is small picture and a big picture... and, for us, it's a long term plan. Our intention is to grow in a way that takes care of one another, you (yes, you), our really awesome planet, and our beautiful home state, Arkansas.

 It's a much slower process than we'd like for it to be, but those sexy Arkansas tomatoes don't ripen overnight, do they?

 

 

 

 

Not So Long Ago Lived Two Peasant Children...

a little boy and little girl.  Their parents were of the greatest sort!  The mother was a princess and the daughter of a Wizard King!  The father was the finest warrior in the Great Wheat Fields! However, the Wizard King had forsaken his daughter for marrying a lowly warrior, for they were of mixed blood and drank of the magic pond water a little too often.

Banished to anther land, the Warrior and the Princess raised their children in the hollow of an old Magnolia tree in the land of the Hot Forest People far away from either of their homes.  They had little money and the land was very strange!  The fish were shaped like rectangles and came from boxes. The vegetables grew from round metal tins.  And, the bread was soft and white, but was shaped like a square and had no taste at all!

As poor and strange as they may have been, the two children, Auggie and Tiffy, made friends with the Hot Forest children.  But then one day, the Princess, greatly desiring the smoke sticks and black bean juice from her youth, left the Hot Forest for the Ratty Wetlands down South.  She was sure to find plenty of both there!  So she hopped on her tricycle and pedaled herself all the way to her homeland!

The Warrior was very dismayed having lost the love of his life and the mother of his children! So, he immediately remarried. In only three months time, the children had a new mother! Her name was Grima.

Grima was not as sweet as the Princess, but the tree hollow was always clean.  She was always sweeping and wiping.  She could not understand how the children lived as they did before she had come along!

A few years more passed, and the family was fairly settled with their new mother, Grima.  However, life was different for them in many ways.  Grima had slowly caused discord between the Warrior and his children.  They felt unwanted by their entire family.  Things seemed to be looking quite unpleasant for Auggie and Tiffy!

But, the children were not children anymore!  They had grown and were now a young warrior and a young princess in their own right!  Together, they left the Hot Forest in search of a new life in an new land. Their journey took many moons and in their search, they found love of their own and started new families.  They each made a daughter born almost on the same day.  Their new families lit up their world with excitement an laughter! Until, one day, it occurred to Auggie and Tiffy that they no longer had to search for new lands. They could make a world of their own where bread was kneaded and baked, vegetables came fresh from the garden, and fish flew out of clear streams!

They were so happy that they made it their new goal to spread good food and love to all those who still ate from boxes and cans and lived in the dark.  And the brother and sister lived happily ever after with their new families!

The End

New Beginnings for Man, Woman, and Machine

As Jacquline and I prepared for our new lives as entrepreneurs, an old bread truck also awaited a new purpose.  We happened upon our yet-to-be-named truck after over a month of searching. And, although it needed a good deal of love and money, it carried certain features that formed a kind of personality.  After many years in service some bolts had become loose.  The mirrors were broken and bent.  The steering wheel was upside down and had a great deal of play.  The brakes leaked.  The shifter sat loosely in its gears.  A few lights came on, a few remained off, some were missing altogether.  It needed two batteries, and there was but one very old battery left. However, after turning the ignition, the engine gave no hesitation!

I soon found that the truck was made in the first year of a newly formed partnership between Isuzu Motors and Grumman Olson.  The chassis was 100% Japanese.  On the chassis sat an All-American truck body.

Grumman actually began as a company in 1930 in Pennsylvania, and by World War Two, was one of the primary manufacturers of American fighter planes.  Likewise, in 1934 a Japanese motor company named Ishikawajima Motorcar Company became Isuzu Motors (renamed after the Isuzu River).  During the second Great War, they were building tanks and military trucks.

The Grumman F4F-3 fight plane (Above-Left) and the Ishikawajima Type 92 Armored Car (Above-Right)

Our little truck was the product of peaceful efforts made between two companies that only 40 years prior were forced against each other.  It is only fitting that we restore this truck for the purpose of joining Axis and Allies all over again in a new century! And, of course, we'll be doing this with our food!