Nosh Pit Detroit has been having quite the eventful year. After winning first place for Best Hummus at ShawarmaFest last November and second place at both the International Vegetarian Food Fest last October and the Mobile-Cuisine Vegan-Vegetarian Food Truck of the Year in July, you may think their heads would be slightly inflated. Yet by spending time with them, I found that they are anything but. I spent the afternoon with Karen Schultz, co-owner of Nosh Pit, and her two young employees working on a rainy Monday at Cadillac Square Park. Between making delicious vegetarian sandwiches and doing what needed to be done to keep the truck in good shape, we were able to discuss Karen's history with food, where she sees the future of food trucks in Detroit going, and everything in between. I was able to sample Nosh Pit's food and truck culture as well as those of many of the other trucks in the flock that was a part of Downtown Street Eats, a program that features a different group of food trucks every week during the summer.
We were neighbored on one side by GrillWich Tot Shop and by Chef Cari Kosher Catering on the other. The owners of the different food trucks talked and shared food with one another, as it was a slower day because of inclement weather. While fast paced days are more successful monetarily, “I like rainy days, because you’re actually able to eat and enjoy one another’s company,” Schultz said. Although there was rain, there were enough customers; I got to see every dish be prepared, from the Karen grilled cheese to the Larry corned beet sandwich. I even had the chance to make the Larry.
The Larry shows off some of the sustainability practices of Nosh Pit. Their spin on a traditional corned beef sandwich, its primary ingredients are corned beets and sauerkraut, both of which are pickled and made to last. Pickled ingredients lessen the truck's food waste, because these do not need to be thrown out at the end of the day if uneaten. Nosh Pit also composts to minimize waste. They have a partnership with a local farm whose goats are fed by Nosh Pit’s compost to minimize the cost of having their compost picked up. This connection was made through Maple Creek Farm, an organic farm in Yale, Michigan that Nosh Pit buys some of its produce from.
Karen has big dreams for the future of local for food trucks. She noted some of the challenges for food trucks that exist today, a huge one being the lack of kitchen space. An ideal setup for Nosh Pit would be to have a kitchen space for different food trucks near Eastern Market, where they could pop over if they run out of an ingredient. This would also help with the availability of local produce, which Karen finds to be the biggest challenge when trying to buy more locally.
Nosh Pit's sustainability efforts range over the whole spectrum of the food system, from preparation, considering what their menu offers, to where they get their ingredients, to trying to minimize the waste coming off the truck.