Cabarrus County’s local food movement has spawned its first food truck.Gary Adams and Hope Hardie opened The Pig and Cow in June with a focus on using local meats and produce as much as possible. They hope their traveling business will help spread the word about the importance of buying local and supporting farmers.The duo can be found at most area farmers markets – find a complete schedule at piedmont-farmersmarket.com – as well as at special events throughout the Charlotte region, including Charlotte’s Food Truck Friday ( facebook.com/FoodTruckFriday). Menu items range from grass-fed burgers and a BLT to the Big Cheesy (a grilled cheese sandwich), rosemary garlic fries and chili cheese fries.Adams, 47, and Hardie, 46, both moved from the west to Concord about four years ago. They found each other through an online dating site and eventually fell in love over their common interest of devouring a good burger.Before the food truck, Adams worked in the racing industry, while Hardie worked in education. When Hardie got some money to invest, the two began to brainstorm business ideas. Hardie thought about working in someone’s restaurant but decided to start her own business instead. The couple researched food truck on ideas online, read books and eventually bought a truck. The two renovated and retrofitted their 135-square-foot truck to be able to cook and sell food by adding a grill, a fryer and other kitchen equipment. The cramped quarters inside, with its powerful grill, can reach temperatures of 120 degrees. It’s a labor of love, and the customer is master.“We’re a two-person band, so we do a lot of cross-duties that kind of occur via telepathy,” said Adams. “So while we are serving, there are many times we have to bounce across, over or behind each other to tend to some random tiny thing. But it could be that one thing that brings someone back or prompts them to tell a friend. So we serve that master above all else, at least in service.”Their customer base fluctuates depending on location. But at certain locations, the couple has served more than 150 people within a matter of hours. Aside from a possible line, customers should expect a bit of a wait; everything is cooked to order. “We put a lot of love into what we do, and we really care about it,” said Hardie. “My favorite thing is when people leave satisfied. Because we could do this for money all day, but … I wouldn’t do this very long if there weren’t people getting excited about it.” The Pig and Cow gets supplies from Barbee Farms, one of the county’s century-old farms, as well as Miller Produce and Creekside Farms, which specialize in meat.“I think a lot of our social ills in this county would be solved if everything got more local,” said Hardie. “So I’d just like to see that across the board. That’s my passion.” Adams said customer response has been amazing, and about 75 percent of the customers are first-time food truck visitors.“We’re not chefs, but we know how we like to cook something and how we like to eat it, and we’ve prepared that for other people, and they seem to go nuts,” he said. “Whether it’s the ingredients, the love we put into it or the passion we have for introducing people to street food … it seems to be working.”Hardie added, “We were just talking about the magic of a food truck – because people do have to stand in line and they do have to wait. … There’s individuality, and with each truck you get a little bit of their personality. So it’s endless variety, and I think that’s why people like it.”Some customers say the offerings clearly show the difference between homemade versus processed foods.Denise Petraske, 33, has lived in Concord about 20 years and has visited the food truck about once per week since it opened.“Their rosemary garlic fries are awesome,” said Petraske, who gravitates toward the burgers. “It’s a great local place to grab food, and it’s just better food.” Joelle Friend, 38, has lived in Concord since 1997 and also visits the truck weekly. “The burgers tastes really good and they come from local, grass-fed beef,” said Friend. “If you want to support local food and the food truck industry, these guys are doing great things in the community. They support No Kid Hungry, which I also support.” No Kid Hungry, a campaign of the national nonprofit Share Our Strength, connects children in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals. It also engages the public to make ending childhood hunger a national priority.“It’s just great local food,” Friend said, “and they’re supporting the local economy by what they’re doing.”
Friday, Aug. 23, 2013
Cabarrus food truck serves up local ingredients
Learn more What: Cabarrus County’s first food truck, The Pig & Cow, serves local seasonal produce and meats that are free of steroids, hormones or preservatives. Schedule: 4-7 p.m. Mondays, Harrisburg Farmers Market, 6960 Robinson Church Road; 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays, downtown Concord Farmers Market, 24 Market St.; 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays, Winecoff Farmers Market, 518 Winecoff School Road, Kannapolis. Details: Call 208-874-7727; email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit facebook.com/thepigandcow.
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