The Farmery is moving its Airstream trailer and indoor farm from Research Triangle Park in an effort to grow its customer base in a bustling part of Durham.
The Farmery is a food truck of sorts that has parked its converted vintage 1968 Airstream trailer at The Frontier coworking space since January 2016. It serves healthy salads, flatbreads and wraps with ingredients grown in a 20-foot indoor farm on site as well as an off-site farm in North Raleigh.
Founder Ben Greene says the theme is “virtuous eating.”
“We design our menu based on what we can source on site, what we can grow ourselves,” Greene said. “We strive to do everything as honest as we can. We don’t use anything that has preservatives in it. Everything we serve is compostable.”
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Greene, 34, said The Farmery has developed a following at The Frontier but has only been able to serve breakfast and lunch with workers leaving after business hours. Greene said he has wanted to add dinner service.
Next month, he’ll be able to do so when the 30-foot Farmery and an upgraded indoor farm move to 326 Geer St., in the parking lot of a vacant building. It’s down the street from Motorco Music Hall and around the corner from Fullsteam Brewery. Pending inspection approvals, it is scheduled to open July 7.
Greene said they will serve lunch and dinner but no longer will serve breakfast. The menu will be the same throughout the day.
He said the location is somewhat temporary. A tenant is expected to move into the building next to the lot, and The Farmery likely will move later this year.
But Greene said the long-term goal is to find a permanent brick-and-mortar location. While locations have been looked at, there is no timeline for such a move.
“We want to focus on making this relocation work,” he said. “We’re in a better space. People can see it. No one knew about it who lived in the downtown scene.”
He said he has learned lessons about what works with the indoor farm, which primarily has been used for growing herbs.
“We use a lot of pesto in almost everything,” he says. “There’s a night-and-day difference from buying the basil and growing it and using it the same day.”
The two most popular items on the menu are the superfood bowl and the chimi chicken melt. The flatbreads also have been popular.
Original recipes were developed by executive chief Mitch Orland and have been executed by on-site chef Eric Wargin.
Greene says it’s all about being the “healthiest restaurant we can be.” He said they have converted diners who weren’t familiar with vegan options and has heard people who are “happily surprised” to be full after a meal of savory greens.
“That’s the best thing,” he said. “I’m hoping people will see the model and understand growing things is a great way to source things locally and affordably.”