“Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming?”
In the midst of July’s sweltering heat wave (which I can only hope our bodies and souls will have by now forgotten), I sit in the air conditioning, scrolling through my photos of the Morning Glory CSA food truck, and I think of this question by farmer and writer Wendell Berry.
I took these photos yesterday, on an especially hot Saturday morning at the Cedar Rapids Farmers Market. In them, the blazing sun reflects off the truck’s stainless steel surfaces. Incredibly, chef Kit Kirby contently awaits breakfast-goers in the truck’s interior, which is a good 10 degrees warmer than the outside air. Oh, July.
The food truck is an enterprise of Morning Glory CSA, a vegetable farm in Mount Vernon. It is one way to make a farm business sustainable, said farmer Donna Warhover, who operates the business with her husband Bill Warhover.
“When you are passionate about farming, you want to find ways to make it work,” Donna said.
The food truck’s menu showcases vegetables and herbs grown by Donna and her farm crew. “Making it work” is an understatement. The quinoa bowl I ordered featured a deliciously savory serving of sauteed zucchini, fennel, carrots, sliced radish and parsley over a generous scoop of tri-color quinoa and a fried egg.
Seasonal vegetables — onions, beets, fennel, squash — shine on this menu when paired with tender Pavelka’s Point pork tacos folded into La Reyna corn tortillas. Or sandwiched between egg, cheese and made-from-scratch English muffins. It’s a simple, straightforward and healthy menu of three or four options, which is a pure relief for those of us in a seemingly constant state of decision fatigue.
“Vegetables are the main ingredient,” Donna unabashedly said of the food truck’s offerings. “Kit turns vegetables into something so amazing.” It’s true.
Why farm? Why make food in the back of a truck underneath the scorching Iowa summer sun?
To his question, and to my own, Wendell Berry concedes: “Always the answer is: ‘Love. They must do it for love.’”
The Morning Glory CSA food truck will be in regular attendance throughout the Cedar Rapids Farmers Market season, as well as at Science Thursdays on the University of Iowa healthcare campus and at Food Truck Tuesdays at NewBo City Market.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 268.