Seeing all the small-scale farmers rolling back their crops with no one to sell to and people initially hesitant to frequent grocery stores, Dustin Bailey and Cora Cook, foodies who both worked in kitchens and the food industry throughout college, saw an opportunity to help out.
In April, the duo launched Farm To Bus, an ice cream truck-style, rolling farmers market run from a converted 2011 Chevy Microbird which partners with local farms, beekeepers, bakers, roasters and orchards.
The bus features local meat from Longmont’s Buckner Family Ranch, eggs, and a variety of produce from greens to roots, alliums (garlic, leeks, shallots), fruit and herbs as well as non-perishable products like hot sauce, honey, flour and fruit butter.
Dustin and Cora work locally with Bjorn’s Colorado Honey, Andrus Farm, Ollin Farms, Cure Organic Farm, Table Mountain Farm (from which they source its unique Goat Milk Caramel), Boundless Landscapes, Green Belly Foods and Moksha Chocolate, as well as Hotchkiss’s Ela Family Farms orchard, Denver’s Rebel Bread, Fruita’s Bestslope Coffee Company, and Fort Collins’ Hazel Dell Mushrooms.
Farm To Bus picks up from most of its farms weekly, such as Cure three days a week and gets a twice-a-week delivery from Boundless Landscapes, a local organization that converts lawns and underutilized commercial spaces into food gardens.
Local foot print
Farm To Bus frequents two North Boulder neighborhoods and three in South Boulder, and those curious can track it in real-time through its online tracking service.
The bus goes on its delivery routes Wednesday through Friday 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with the routes themselves decided the night before based on the orders’ locations.
Customers can order boxes of goodies online ahead of time, which Dustin and Cora build out to include ingredients that pair well together, or simply show up on location to buy produce and goods on board. They keep the mobile meat on dry ice and have a deep chest freezer they bring it back to at the end of each day, and always have tons of produce on board.
“At this point, people get together on their block and wait for us because they have an expected time,” Dustin tells BLDRfly. “Some neighborhoods, we go to one corner of street and people stand in line — maybe like, 15 to 20 families. It’s cool having regulars, and they keep coming back.”
Dustin tells us that the amount of produce (specifically fruits and veggies) the bus sells in a week reaches over 1,000 lbs from the five local farms, and it has replaced the income from Wednesday’s Farmers Market for Cure Organic Farm as well as become the largest buyer from two other farms.
While right now, running the bus makes for a full time gig as Dustin and Cora often go from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with all of the pick-up, cultivation and delivery, as well as helping out on their partner farms when needed, the operation will likely pause for the season mid-November and resume again in April.
Header Image: Farm To Bus’s ride and home base. Image: Dustin Bailey and Cora Cook.