Local Hero Profile: Wheelhouse Farm Truck
The inspiration for Wheelhouse Farm Truck came from Jake Mazar, Will Van Heuvelen, and Zoë Abram’s time spent working at Brookfield Farm, where cooking and sharing meals was a highlight of their time together. They became interested in developing a business that would combine the delicious fun of those farm meals with their shared passion for supporting farms in the Pioneer Valley. On the farm they often would talk about a task being “in your wheelhouse,” and the phrase stuck when they were brainstorming about what would eventually become Wheelhouse Farm Truck. Since launching in 2015, Zoë has returned to the farm and Jake and Will continue to run the food operation.
“The whole reason we started Wheelhouse Farm Truck was to get people to appreciate the amazing bounty right on the farms. We want to work directly with the seasons, with the farmers, and help people make a connection to the farm.”
“The menu changes every week depending on what’s available. We’re excited about the pulled chicken tacos with chipotle aioli, braised kale, and pickled onions. We raise and slaughter the chickens ourselves at Brookfield Farm. Some customer favorites include the glazed carrots with cabbage kimchi tacos and the pork belly with carrot and turnip hash.”
The changing seasons:
“The early fall is great, when hot crops are still coming in. We love working with tomatoes and peppers. We also get excited when we start seeing the winter squash. We just love the changes and it helps keep us creative with our menu. August is wildly different than May!”
Wheelhouse Farm Truck supports Brookfield Farm
Farmer Dan Kaplan grew up in suburban Long Island, but he was always interested in environmentalism and the natural world. After graduating college in 1987, he began to work on farms before moving to the Pioneer Valley in 1994 and taking the reins at Brookfield Farm in 1995. Since then he has been in charge of the farm, growing produce and developing relationships with members of the local community through CSA shares, which makes up almost all of his business. Dan believes that CSAs are a great thing for the community because they educate people about where their food comes from and help them develop a relationship with a farm. In addition to selling produce to customers, Dan gives back with his apprenticeship program, where young people help on the farm and learn from him for eight months. Many of his apprentices go on to start farms or related businesses themselves, including the owners of Wheelhouse Farm Truck.