Origins Café mobile food truck is a celebration of culinary responsibility created by sisters Dana and Kristen Leonard.
The Leonard sisters grew up in their parents’ garden nursery — Carefree Gardens in Cooperstown — and were exposed to healthy practices in diet and agriculture. The sisters traveled to Peru last winter as part of a team of global explorers for the cooperative WWOOF (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) where they were inspired to bring the lessons of responsible agriculture back to Cooperstown.
“We are committed to responsible environmental practices,” said Kristen Leonard. “Eating is something that we, as people, do every day. So, this is a focus of ours — we focus on simple, locally grown food. In environmental health, food is the key. We want to encourage responsible agricultural practices.”
The mobile café travels to area events offering vegetarian meals prepared with locally grown produce.
“We are not opposed to eating animals, but it is not necessary for all meals,” said Kristen Leonard. “The reason we do not source meat on our menu is that raising meat leaves a much bigger environmental footprint than growing produce does.”
Origins Café offers catering services for parties and events. The sisters are often found working local venues.
Recently the sisters parked their food truck at Ommegang Brewery for the Old Crow Medicine Show, where they offered their vegetarian fare.
Every Wednesday evening, Origins Café parks the mobile food truck at Carefree Gardens and opens its diner to area residents who are interested in locally sourced meals and area music.
The dinners are donation-based and include multiple courses and live music. They are often themed, such as the Mediterranean dinner held in May that included homemade bread and herbed garlic butter, a Honeybee Farm cheese sampler platter, mushroom and asparagus risotto with spring greens, rhubarb tart, and Ciao Bella gelato. All of the food served was purchased from area farmers. Local jazz duo Joe Siracusa and Evan Jagels performed for the dinner crowd.