New North Thompson food truck uses rural farm as home base

From farm to food truck

When trying to cut out the middle man, there's are few who have done it to the extent the Rainers have.

Husband-and-wife team Dustin and Lena Rainer are the owners of Salt Lick BBQ, a new food truck based in Darfield, one of the small communities dotting Highway 5 north of Kamloops. A tiny rural location might not sound like classic food truck territory, but it does have its advantages. For the Salt Lick BBQ truck, in particular, it means it's parked on the family farm when it's not roaming the region.

"We have a huge garden, where lots of our vegetables come from," Lena tells Castanet.

On top of that, the meat is as local as physically possible, coming from the attached ranch.

"My husband's brother runs the abattoir and meat shop," she adds.

The farm came first, by a long shot; Lena says the farm was bought by Rainers in the 1930s.

More recently, Dustin has gotten into the idea of cooking.

"Dustin always had a passion for food and always didn’t like middle man," Lena says.

At one point, he built a smoker out of an old propane tank and began catering. Last fall they sold food in Barriere at the fair.

Last winter they bought an old Cooper's Foods delivery truck in Kamloops. Dustin, with the help of his brother, turned it into the Salt Lick BBQ food truck over the last few months. It made its debut in May.

Things have started slow; Lena had a broken ankle, and with the pandemic going on, events are uncommon. That said, Lena says things are going well. They have a regular spot in Barriere they go to every Friday; locals who don't have internet access have come to expect them there.

The region they want to cover ranges from Clearwater to Kamloops. They've made it down to Kamloops once and want to make it a regular thing on Saturdays. Their one trip down, the farmers market, was OK, but since they specialize in lunch food, the morning event wasn't the perfect fit.

"Our signature is the brisket and pulled pork," Lena says. "Everything we grow ourselves we experiment with."

A burger is also a regular-menu item, and a couple of breakfast items. Lena wants to explore some vegetarian and vegan options, but they haven't gotten there yet.

For now, they're looking forward to local opportunities.

"Today, we’re doing a big lunch for the Simpc First Nation on the other side of the river in Chua Chua," she says.

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will also be a big driver for them in the coming months, they hope.

"We have the pipeline going through here with all the workers, so we’ll put together a lunch program together."

With both of them working on the farm, the food truck isn't a full-time job — they usually are in the truck three days a week. On Mondays, Lena posts a schedule of where they'll be in the coming week. To check out that schedule, click here.

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