The Kitchen Think: A Moveable Feast


There’s something really great going on right now in communities that have historically had little access to fresh fruit and vegetables. Buses and trucks, converted into mobile produce markets, are rolling through these so-called “food deserts,” a virtual oasis on wheels in the communities they roam.

It’s like an ice cream truck… except this one sells rhubarb and lettuce instead of drumsticks and rainbow bomb-pops (boy, did Mama love those as a kid!).

Mobile produce marts started popping up a few years ago, from Maine to California and points in between, offering an easy way for residents to make healthy food choices. Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, began making their rounds in a big blue converted bus in 2009. In addition to low income areas, they park near senior housing facilities… and even give the elderly discounts during growing season.

California’s San Joaquin County’s Mobile Farmer’s Market, founded in 2007, now visits more than 54 sites every month. Volunteers also prepare special bags for people with specific health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart trouble… conditions that can be exacerbated by poor nutrition.

Surprisingly, Chicago just got its first mobile produce bus. Fresh Moves has targeted the city’s west side, which is littered with fast food restaurants, but few easy to get to, affordable supermarkets. The bus is now making stops twice a week, with mostly locally sourced and organic produce on board.

Culinary schools and food companies have partnered with some of the farmer’s markets on wheels to teach shoppers how to use the produce that they buy. As unbelievable as it may sound, some communities have been without access to fresh vegetables for so long, residents have to be taught the basics… how to wash, peel, boil or steam the veggies… and that ketchup is not a vegetable (I’m not joking).

And while the mobile markets may be new to many communities, New Orleans has been blessed with Mr. Okra for more than 30 years. Arthur J. Robinson has been traversing NOLA’s streets, extolling the virtues of the fruits and vegetables packed in his brightly painted pickup truck.

Maybe if this trend keeps up, every community will have a Mr. Okra!




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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: