DRIVEN TO DE­LIGHT

Fun, friendly and serv­ing up tasty treats of all sorts, food trucks roll in and build com­mu­nity, one bite at a time.

Country Sampler's Prarie Style - - Contents - WRIT­TEN BY Marie Al­bert. PHO­TOGRAPHED BY Lu Tapp. STYLED BY Sun­day Hen­drick­son.

Fun, friendly and serv­ing up tasty treats of all sorts, food trucks roll in and build com­mu­nity, one bite at a time.

It started on a Satur­day night in Scotts­dale, Ari­zona. Event plan­ner Lori Baker, along with third-gen­er­a­tion farmer, friend and be­hind-the-scenes tal­ent Casey Stech­nij, launched Food Truck Car­a­van (foodtruck­car­a­van. com). Paired with live mu­sic, the idea was to bring peo­ple out of their homes and into a down­town area that, like many oth­ers, was no longer the buzzy ac­tiv­ity cen­ter it once was. “Food trucks bring hap­pi­ness,” Lori says. “Be­yond the amaz­ing food, we see how it con­nects peo­ple and con­nects com­mu­ni­ties.”

The idea got trac­tion fast, and Lori now runs an event busi­ness over­see­ing 30 trucks with vary­ing spe­cial­ties and “play­ing match­maker” with menus and decor to de­liver pitch-per­fect par­ties to her clients. “It’s in­ti­mate, fun and re­laxed. Peo­ple are get­ting away from struc­ture, and that’s re­ally the sce­nario of food trucks,” Lori re­ports.

What’s more, the trucks are self­con­tained, so there’s no worry about se­cur­ing the fa­cil­i­ties that con­ven­tional cater­ing re­quires, a big plus for any­one who dreams of, say, a rustic re­cep­tion on the fam­ily farm but isn’t sure how to feed ev­ery­one.

Th­ese days, Lori han­dles any­thing from a fes­tive fam­ily re­u­nion to a whole host of ca­sual and for­mal events in be­tween, but what links them all is how peo­ple have em­braced the ex­pe­ri­ence. “When you have a pas­sion project, you won­der if it’s some­thing any­one else will like, and the fact that it makes peo­ple as happy as it makes me…that’s what keeps me do­ing this.”

Chef Kirsten on Casey’s “Su­per Farm Su­per Truck” crafted the sim­ple-but-de­li­cious menu for this prairie pic­nic. Hay bales are good com­pan­ions to a farm pic­nic set­ting, but adding a throw and pil­lows pro­vide soft­ness and com­fort. A mini horse grazes on its own fresh fare, while the kids learn a hands-on les­son on the kind treat­ment of an­i­mals.

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