Farm Girl Mobile Food Co.

Farm Girl Mobile Food Company, Kingston's first gourmet food truckUndoubtedly¸ one of the most anticipated events of Spring/Summer 2013 for many Kingstonians was the opening of Farm Girl Mobile Food Co. Part of the trending gourmet mobile food eateries hitting the streets of North America, Farm Girl features “Betty Lou,” an adorable mobile food truck in the design of a big red barn.

The excitement started months before Betty Lou’s arrival, with a brilliantly executed marketing campaign, including a website with bright and colourful photos that could instantly induce stomach growling, a Facebook page and Twitter account detailing potential recipes and specials, and multiple media appearance in local and even national media venues. I’m sure that many of you were (I know I was) salivating in eager anticipation of locally sourced, homemade creations by Tamara B and her team of “Farm Girls.”

Farm Girl Mobile Food Company, Kingston's first gourmet food truckMy partner and I braved the cold and hour-plus wait to try Farm Girl’s fare on her opening day (May 2013) at the Memorial Centre Market. Since then I’ve followed Farm Girl from her spot at the Memorial Centre to her rather unfortunate spot at 677 Princess St. to her current location in City Park. I’ve been seven times and have had a chance to taste a variety of dishes from her southern fried chicken to her homemade potato and cheese perogies, so I feel like I’ve tried it enough to make a fair assessment.

Farm Girl is definitely popular with the lunchtime crowd. There has been a big lineup during each of my visits (I suggest going earlier than 12:00 PM if you can). Service is very friendly and as quick as can be expected with it being so busy. Each time I’ve waited between 10-20 minutes for my order, which is more in line with restaurants than what we usually think of as food truck fast food where everything is thrown in a fryer. Even though Farm Girl is truck-based, it’s not the “traditional” food truck we have seen in Kingston, as it offers gourmet fare and everything from soup to ice cream!

Farm Girl Mobile Food Company, Kingston's first gourmet food truckI’ve never been disappointed with my meal, but there have been some dishes that I enjoyed far better than others. For example, the pot roast sandwich is ingenious, and her southern fried chicken pairs flawlessly with the spicy and savoury Farm Girl BBQ sauce. As someone of partially-Polish ancestry, I know the time and effort that goes into making the perfect perogie and Farm Girl’s are just that and topped off with local bacon and chives/fried onions.

However, not all dishes were as memorable. I have found that a few of the couscous/rice side salads have been a bit bland. Last week, I ordered summer sweet pea salad with a mango dressing. However, I didn’t realize until I got to work that it was undressed and it was too late to go back. While I was disappointed, such oversights happen at all eateries.  In this case it’s more difficult to correct your order from a food truck, so be sure to check yours before heading back to the office.

Farm Girl Mobile Food Company, Kingston's first gourmet food truckOne thing that I have noticed is that prices have increased since Farm Girl opened. For example, the same perogie meal (three perogies plus a side) saw what I thought to be a pretty dramatic increase from $9 (June 2nd) to $13 (August 2nd). Most meals (with side) will run you $12-$13 (tax included), but there are some items that cost a few dollars more. I do appreciate that serving homemade and locally sourced dishes is time consuming and can be costly, but I’m not sure if that case be made with the bottles of water and cans of pop that are sold for $2.00 (in comparison, the three chip trucks in the area sell their water and pop for $1 ).

Aside from some great food, I give Farm Girl credit for all of their philanthropic efforts in the Kingston community. From donating unsold food to Martha’s Table to raising money and sharing profits with local charities and community groups, Farm Girl is a great example of giving back.

Have you tried Farm Girl? What are your thoughts? Please share your comments below.

Comments

  1. KTown55 says

    Just a heads up, Mission Street North was actually Kingston's first gourmet food truck- they opened a month or so earlier than Farm Girl.

    • Melinda says

      Hey KTown55,

      Indeed, I did know that Mission St. was the first gourmet food truck and actually ate there before Farm Girl opened. I believe a review on Mission St. is in the works for later this Summer, so keep your eye out!

  2. Fan says

    I am THRILLED with Farm Girl – and willing to pay the prices and withstand the wait for the excellent food that is locally responsible and lovingly prepared. I'm also in love with their location at City Park, because it's near my end of KGH so convenient! Welcome Farm Girl!!!

  3. guest says

    Any item that comes from a food truck should not be more than 10 bucks IMHO, but if people will pay then all the power to them..

  4. Frank says

    Farm Girl serves excellent meals. Her presence in the social media captures potential clients' interest.
    We need more of these food trucks, more variety and more locations.
    Imagine an Iron Duke truck or Tango, even a sushi truck!
    Well, maybe not a sushi truck…

    • RyanThomson says

      Seriously?

      At the risk of being a quite blunt – would it not be better to simply support the expensive-lease-based locations of Tango Neuvo and The Iron Duke? Why should they invest in a food truck as a vessel to serve those unwilling to travel the very short distance required to eat their food?

      I have little time for food trucks. Our downtown is struggling as it stands, yet we have many great restaurants, and they are located in brick and mortar locations with leases, taxes, etc. They are here to stay, they are a PART of our downtown. If I want to eat out, I will support the people that have made a standing investment in our downtown, and not a food truck that can move where it pleases.

      • guest says

        here, here! … These trucks are good options for remote areas, not our Downtown..

        Also, got to mention the trouble with trendy business ideas in general. Hard to support something that could easily and quickly lose it's hipster appeal!

      • Frank says

        I appreciate the importance of supporting restaurants, especially the locally owned ones. Patios are a great incentive in the summertime and they create interest.

        Food trucks support community gatherings during our too short summers. They are great in locations where there aren't any restaurants nearby such as City Park or Lake Ontario Park. They don't have to be located, and aren't all, downtown either. Workers can then grab a quick meal, instead of bringing a brown bag. Not everyone can go out to a restaurant at lunchtime.

        In Montreal, food trucks are extensions of restaurants, I don't see why it couldn't work in Kingston?

  5. Melinda says

    Ryan,

    This is where I also struggle. I have a hard time paying between $12-15 for a meal at Farm Girl when I can support restaurants in the downtown core like Le Chien Noir or Aquaterra, who also feature homemade, locally souced fare, for similar prices (Aquaterra's three-course + tea/coffee lunch menu is $18!). Yes, there are taxes and tip added, but you are also getting service, atomosphere and recognizing that these places probably pay high rents.

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