Food for Thought, a nonprofit student-run, locally sourced taco truck based out of Viroqua, will be one of the new food vendors at the upcoming Driftless Area Art Festival, September 19 and 20 in Soldiers Grove.
The food truck operation began in 2015 as the senior project of Charlie Townsley, a student at Youth Initiative High School in Viroqua. The business opened on April 29 and, though Townsley is moving on to college in Minnesota, the project continues under the leadership of his brother Arlo.
Teams of Youth Initiative students, with adult mentors, help staff the truck. It’s a spring-to-early-fall operation “pretty much following the farmers market season,” Townsley said. “We use local produce, organic as much as possible.”
The Food for Thought truck will serve pulled pork tacos, vegetable tacos, bean and cheese quesadillas, and breakfast burritos—not just at breakfast time.
Other new vendors. all committed to the Art Festival’s concept of local sourcing for its visual, culinary and performing arts, include Tri R Catering, owned by Russ and Jill Riggs and operating as a family business out of Steuben. Tri R will offer Italian beef, pulled pork sandwiches, homemade potato rolls, chips and cookies.
A third vendor new in 2015, the Kickapoo Exchange Food Coop, will feature pre-packaged snacks like nuts, cheese & crackers, fresh fruit and natural sodas.
Returning favorites include Mary's Berries, from Ferryville, offering shortcakes and smoothies, and Apple'licious Pie Depot, from Rolling Ground, with apple pizza, and cherry, apple, strawberry, blueberry & rhubarb pies.
LaCrosse Crepe’s Jean Luc will offer French crepes, sweet crepes, and french pastries. The Dawg House of Lynxville will serve hot dogs, catfish, potatoes, and cheese curds.
The Soldiers Grove Lions tent will have, among its beer and wine offerings, beer from Driftless Brewing Company, the local microbrewery that began in Excelsior and moved to Soldiers Grove in 2014.
For art lovers who want a closer peek at innovative approaches to food preparation and enjoyment, the Artisan Edibles tent will again feature foods and wine from the Driftless region, to be sampled and purchased for consumption later.
Among the features are culinary artist Monique Hooker and Got2Hav Pie from DeSoto. Hooker creates pie crusts, puff pastry, cookies and other goodies. The accomplished chef and former restaurateur will offer samples, recipes and her award-winning cookbook, ‘Cooking with the Seasons.’
The Austin’s Rush Creek Farm in Ferryville, dedicated to sustaining the natural beauty and richness of the region, grows produce using natural methods. In September, they’ll sample and sell pickled foods like Dilly Beans and Pickled Beets, as well as a wide variety of jams and jellies.
Sugar Creek Winery, owned by Paul Franzen, will sample and sell several varieties of grape and award-winning fruit wines produced since in rural Ferryville.
And the American Hazelnut Company will display products including kernels, oil, flour and cosmetics, along with some of the processes used to create them.
The year is the eleventh year of the annual Driftless Area Art Festival, which as always offers free admission and ample, free and convenient parking.
Festival Partners include Community Development Alternatives, Inc.; Peoples State Bank of Prairie du Chien and Soldiers Grove; Village of Soldiers Grove and the Soldiers Grove Economic Development Corporation; Wisconsin Public Radio; and the Crawford County Tourism Council.
Full details on the 83 visual artists, four performing arts groups, and other features of the festival are available at driftlessareaartfestival.com.