The Farm on Wheels
How one South Carolina entrepreneur is providing produce and more out of a food truck.
When Adam Sturm left his restaurant career behind, he began a new venture — Adam’s Mobile Market. Decorated with a simple logo plastered over white paint, Sturm’s food truck has become a hub for Upstate residents looking for something healthier than fast food. Sturm has made that possible by carrying a variety of fruits, vegetables, desserts, meats, condiments and milling products, all of which are provided by Southern farms. And having a long history with food hasn’t hurt either.
Sturm’s culinary experience can be traced back to 2005 when he began his education at Johnson & Wales in Charlotte, North Carolina. Sturm then started his career as sous chef for La Bastide, but soon became executive chef at The Cliffs at Keowee Falls. After working at The Cliffs for three years, Sturm began to think about other career options. “I started having a family, so at that point I kind of reevaluated my priorities,” he says. “I backed out of a restaurant career and thought more about the retail side of things.”
Sturm began a job at New York Butcher Shoppe and saw the potential for bringing products from local farms to customers. “Having used local farms a lot in the kitchen … I tried to pull it all together and connect consumers to farms,” he explains. Not long after leaving the shop and saving up enough money, Sturm purchased a food truck and set up what functions as a mobile farmers market. He says running the business by himself has had its challenges, but that it’s all been worth it. “There is a greater sense of connection to be able to be only one set of hands as opposed to 10 semi-trucks and a bunch of forklifts to get food to people,” he says.
Bringing the Farm to the Table
Adam’s Mobile Market can usually be found parked outside Quest Brewing Co. in Greenville and Upcountry Provisions Bakery and Bistro in Travelers Rest. It is here that customers can find produce and other products decorating the tables in front of the truck. When Sturm says he’s bringing the farm to the people, he isn’t joking. His truck is loaded up with organic veggies from Broken Oak Organics, Tyger River Smart Farms and Red Tree Produce, alongside hormone-free meat from Greenbrier Farms, local honey from Bee Well Honey Co. and mill products like grits, sea salts and more from Asheville company Bear Branch Milling. Sturm also works with others farms like Gibson Farms and 3 Oaks Farms for meats and veggies.
With a large number of farms on his repertoire, Sturm is helping bring recognition to his suppliers as well as his own business. Craig Weiner, owner of Broken Oak Organics, says that Sturm’s mobile market has provided a great outlet for his farm’s produce and those like him. “It really helps, but there are a lot of farms smaller than mine and it gives them a chance to get their name out there,” he says.
And while the list of farms stays the same for the most part, the menu doesn’t. It changes with the seasons. Sturm promises the summer menu will see an increase in fruits, as well as vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.
Getting His Hands Dirty
Not only does Sturm work long hours beside the truck, but he also works on the farm. Working alongside Weiner at Broken Oak Organics, Sturm plants and harvests organic vegetables once or twice a week on the 5-acre farm. At the end of the workday, some of those vegetables go directly into his own inventory. Sturm says that digging his hands into the dirt has helped connect him to the process. “There is a sense of accomplishment to be able to follow something through the entire life cycle,” he says.
In addition to the countless products sold at the market, Sturm also sells prepared meals he dubs “Take & Bakes.” Working out of a rental kitchen in Greenville, Sturm prepares the meals himself with ingredients from local farms. But before he can start, he posts a series of menu options on Facebook, where customers vote for the top three. Once voted upon, the meals are cooked, stored and ready to sell, providing Upstate residents with a priceless convenience.
Two locations have provided Sturm with enough income to continue his operation and he hopes to expand in the future. For now, he’s content as he continues to thrive in the Upstate, serving residents farm fresh meals.
Adam’s Mobile Market can be found in Travelers Rest on Wednesdays and in Greenville on Saturdays. However, Sturm says that the best place to look for a specific location is on his Facebook page.
All photos by Andrew Moore.