While setting out to clean up my eating habits I ran into a scary thought… could I still eat amazing food truck food and not break my diet too much?
I got lucky and ran into an amazing food truck called Omnivore. The owner Emerald Kroeker and I sat down and talked about her truck and how she is bringing clean food to the forefront of food truck choices.
Who is Emerald Kroeker?
Oof. Honestly, I don’t know half the time. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life being who I needed to be and not who I wanted to be.
I would say my core values are protecting others, honesty, and a real put-your-head-down-and-get-to-work attitude. I have been a workaholic most of my life, but I had to learn that being busy is just a time filler if it isn’t an end to some purpose. My food truck is still a lot of work, but it allows me to attach my meaning to that work.
So, what made you decide to open Omnivore? Were you worried about limiting the types of food you can make by sticking with a clean only menu?
I have a food service background and have been working in restaurants most of my life and when I was in my early 20’s I faced a lot of health issues and had to clean up my diet and steer clear of a lot of those processed foods, and realized how hard it was living an active busy lifestyle not having a lot of food available on the go. After cleaning up my diet I started to feel a lot better. So, I wanted to make it easier for people in the same situation to be able to get good food without having to put their health at risk.
How is health and wellness important to you?
My foray into health food was much like many others – spurned by my own health crisis. I grew up on boxed food and convenience and it eventually caught up with me. At 23 I started having serious health problems, was in urgent care multiple times, and was ultimately offered life long medication to ease my suffering. I wasn’t happy with that solution so I sought out ways to heal my body not just manage problems. Through the help of friends who had faced similar trials and a naturopathic doctor, I found that the majority of my issues were due to deficiencies, food intolerances, and inflammation, and a year later they were all corrected or in check to a point of my medical issues being completely gone. Focusing on health and wellness gave me back my life and let me feel human again. It’s important to me to help others find that peace. Of course, food doesn’t fix everything and I’m not claiming to have the solution to anyone’s problem. But I feel like what I do brings a little comfort in a world that can be daunting. Even with a zillion food issues, I still want to help you because I know it’s important to eat what your body needs, and that isn’t always easy in a world of quick food full of terrible ingredients.
Are all of your items gluten-free?
Yes! I avoid many major allergens and inflammatory foods, but not all. Everything I serve is free from dairy, corn, gluten and all grain, soy, corn, peanuts and refined sugar.
Are any of your ingredients locally sourced?
I buy locally grown whenever I can, but it all really depends on what’s on the current menu and overall costs. Eventually, I would like to be fully local, but I’m not ready to be there just yet.
What is your most popular menu item?
Probably my Texas twinkies. This was a collaboration with another food truck, Barbecue Babes, to make dairy-free brisket and cream cheese stuffed jalapenos wrapped in bacon. People went absolutely crazy for them. My menu changes often so I don’t have them all the time, but I get asked for them constantly.
What has the reaction from the community been since you opened? I know a lot of food trucks I have seen have BBQ or Fish & Chips and even sweets, where you are going down a different path to do something healthy.
In the beginning it was a little slow, but since I have been connecting with my target market its been really well received. I have not had a lot of negative feedback expect for a few people who don’t get it. They will ask questions like why don’t you have ?break? or soda? Because that’s what every other truck has and that’s not what I’m trying to do here.
So, has it been a lot of educating customers on what you are trying to do and offering information on the foods you are making here at Omnivore?
No, not a whole lot. I have a sign that explains what I’m doing here, most people don’t even question it. I have had a few people look at the menu be like umm I’m okay. But I think a lot of that is people are looking more for traditional food truck foods.
How do you choose/find locations for your food truck?
I was lucky this year and didn’t have to seek them out. Most came to me and I had so many requests I rarely went to the same place twice because I didn’t want to turn anyone down. Next summer I think I will choose just a few spots and rotate between them. Still formulating the battle plan on that, but I’ve found my best locations are places people plan to stay for a bit, where they can sit down and enjoy the food.
What are your future plans for Omnivore? (Opening a restaurant? More locations?)
My dream was always a restaurant, but things change. I don’t know where all this will end up but I have a few ideas. I don’t want to say too much publicly yet. I don’t have a solid timeliness for anything right now so I don’t want to get people excited for things that could be years away. But I’d like to have a line of drinks and some form of sit down dining at some point.
It was a unique experience to talk with someone that’s going outside the box of traditional food trucks to bring healthy and clean dinning to the people that enjoy being able to grab something on the go, without having to worry about how it will make them feel mentally or physically.
Omnivore can be found in the Valley most days. Best way to find them is to follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/omnivorewasilla