In 2013, this Examiner met the entrepreneurs behind the newly-launched Fresh Truck, Boston’s only mobile food market. The retrofitted school bus made an early appearance at Babson Food Day that October where food media celebrities Andrew Zimmern and Gail Simmons climbed aboard to explore.
Two years later, Fresh Truck continues its mission to pair access to affordable, healthy foods with nutrition education, cooking literacy, and other community health initiatives. Last week, the mobile food market re-launched, adding a second truck (making it now truly a fleet) and a fresh new look.
“The willingness of the City of Boston to think creatively with us has been a wonderful surprise,” co-founder and executive director Josh Trautwein told this Examiner. “The Mayor’s Office of Food Initiatives, Public Health Commission, Transportation Department and even Inspectional Services have all worked to make it easy for us to build our model.”
Nonetheless, it has certainly been a journey. “We had to hustle really hard on a small budget with relatively few resources to prove Fresh Truck’s model,” added Trautwein. “But Blue Cross, Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan, Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s, Whole Foods Market, and Commonwealth Kitchen have all partnered or contributed in one way or another. So now it feels as though we’ve arrived at a tipping point to really grow the impact.”
Fresh Truck carries fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, breads and other healthy items to Fresh Stops, in the same spots, at the same times, each week, year-round. The mobile market focuses on Boston neighborhoods with the least access to supermarkets and other sources of affordable, healthy food options. Cash, credit and EBT are all accepted forms of payment.
When asked what carries Trautwein through the entrepreneurial journey, he said:
“There is nothing better than watching a toddler try a new vegetable for the first time. It never gets old. Food lends itself to really intimate conversations about personal life, family and community history, so we get to hear the difference we’re making on a regular basis. We know we haven’t even scratched the surface in terms of addressing food access in Boston, but those real moments with real people keep us going.”
Beyond its weekly Fresh Stops, this fall Fresh Truck will offer pop-up markets, recipe kits, innovative nutrition education and corporate wellness programming.
Next Thursday, October 1, the team is hosting a Launch Party at Coppersmith Boston. Open to the public, tickets are $25 and cover food and drink from Harpoon Brewery and Coppersmith, live music and tours of both Fresh Trucks. Come out and taste the bright future of this Boston innovative food solution.