East End Eats food festival fills riverfront park with sweet and savory delights
Is the Upper Valley hungry for a food truck scene? If the hundreds of people who turned out Saturday afternoon for East End Eats in Woodstock are any indication, the answer is clear:
And, may I add — Yum.
“Look at all the people!” Anna DiNatale exclaimed as locals and visitors swarmed a grassy riverfront park that was transformed into an open-air food court featuring everything from locally sourced smoothies to craft beer, barbecue ribs to wood-fired pizzas, hot dogs to homemade pierogies at the event DiNatale helped organize for Sustainable Woodstock.
South Woodstock foodies-in-training Wyatt Underwood, 6, and his 4-year-old sister Georgia, tuck away some fries at the East End Eats food truck festival in Woodstock Saturday.
The nonprofit has worked to transform a patch of land used as a winter snow dump into a park wrapped around a sweet bend in the Ottauquechee River. Saturday’s event was designed as a way to turn people on to a part of town that people can easily miss as they drive toward the glossier storefronts and homes around the downtown Green.
East End Park also provided a show kitchen for some tasty local food served out of everything from folding tables to custom-built food trucks.
La Pizza Lupo took the prize for coolest rig, a black 1952 Ford F-6 truck outfitted with a 900-degree wood oven, beer taps and refrigerators brimming with locally grown ingredients. One of Saturday’s pies featured freshly foraged ramps and Reading Raclette cheese from Springbrook Farm.
Lupo is the creation of Ed Reposa and Sara Kilguss, spouses who ran a restaurant in Rhode Island for 13 years before they decided to find freedom in a kitchen on wheels.
“Restaurant work is just crazy and oppressive; you work 90 hours a week,” said Ed. Added Sara: “We wanted to keep the fun of the restaurant and just enjoy life.”
Mike Lawyer and co-owner Ed Reposa prepare pizzas for the 900-degree oven at La Pizza Lupo food truck.
Working out of a simpler, but elegant, trailer across the way are the two women behind Juel, a purveyor of freshly squeezed juices and smoothies. One of Saturday’s offerings was the Red Velvet, whose ingredients include strawberries, beet root, cashews, cauliflower and — to make it royal — cocoa.
So good for you, says co-owner Elena Taylor. “And it just tastes like dessert.”
Juel owners Elena Taylor, left, and Julie Sumanis take orders for fresh juice drinks and smoothies Saturday.
Juel co-owner Elena Taylor makes a Red Velvet.
Not far away, Sarah Yetter womaned a vintage Honda 350 motorcycle dispensing coffee brewed by the Abracadabra Coffee Company located next to the park. Yetter is one of three partners in the company, which takes pride in getting its beans from farmers in Africa, Central and South America who commit to healthy growing practices and fair treatment of workers.
Abracadabra has also been hosting some of the food trucks at pop-up events at its 54 Pleasant Street operation, and Yetter hopes Saturday’s event will continue to spark an East End food scene.
“When we first moved in over there, we saw basically a mound of dirty snow.”
It sure looked different Saturday.
Silas Stout, 4, of Woodstock fills the air with bubbles.