Since San Diego’s Green Truck opened on March 19, 2011, it’s aimed to heal our planet, one meal at a time.  Local, organic, colorful, and yummy, Green Truck’s creative dishes and seasonal menu are something you can feel good about eating in every way.  Green Truck’s owner David was kind enough to take the time to do this interview for SDFT.

What’s your name?
David Holtze (many people just call me Holtze, or “bizzippie, the business hippie”)

Green Truck's David at a farm-to-table event.

What did you do before you had the food truck?  What’s your background?
Advertising. In my previous life I was the Michael Scott of advertising. Regional Manager for different agency offices across the country. One of my account managers used to ask me for “Schrute Bucks”.

Why did you open a food truck?
For several reasons…Green Truck to me is more than a food truck, I see us as a message/media vehicle (pun intended). I’ve always been passionate about helping save our environment and wanted to get off the bench and be the change. But I didn’t want to beat people over the head with an eco-friendly stick, I wanted to do something fun and spread a message on an everyday level. Then it hit me, a sustainable food truck! I’ve always loved cooking and creating unique dishes from fresh local ingredients, so the idea of an eco truck married my two passions perfectly. I started a business plan and in my research found Green Truck in LA operating a successful business similar to my idea. We met and it was a bro-mance at first sight.
Another reason was becoming an uncle. My little nephew is going to face significant challenges in his life based on our current trajectory as a society. Challenges that I have not had to face, climate change, diminished natural resources, water shortages, rising sea levels, etc… This is no longer conspiracy theory, these are facts confirmed by thousands of scientists and geologists that agree if we don’t change our ways as a society these outcomes are inevitable. But we can make a difference! You can vote with your dollar. Choosing to buy locally sourced, organic produce and eating less meat has a bigger impact on the environment than driving a Prius! Just think, on average the food you eat travels 1,500 miles to get to your plate, and comes from 5 different countries! All the while there is a plethora of local, organic produce and products at your fingertips in San Diego that are priced very close to your standard conventional, shipped-from-afar foods… And they taste that much better! So, long story short, I wanted to leave behind a business I could be proud of, and try to make a difference for future generations, however small the impact.

Okay, I’m off my green-soapbox :). But most importantly, why I started Green Truck was because I LOVE food! It is a sheer joy creating handmade food for people, using all organic, local, fresh ingredients. It fills me with pride selling healthy food and supporting local farms, and doing it all from scratch. Food has always been a passion of mine. I’ve been a Food Network junky since I can remember… Did anyone ever watch “The Frugal Gourmet” on PBS back in the day?

In one sentence, how would you describe your food?
Local, organic, sustainable… delicious!

Green Truck's Beet Salad (Photo by Hai Tran)

What makes your truck unique?
The Green Truck runs on vegetable oil and biodiesel, and everything we serve our food on is compostable, the ingredients are organic, and everything is made from scratch. Our mission is healing our planet, one meal at a time. We’re also full of funny quips like “don’t panic it’s organic” and “pay your farmer now or your doctor later”.

What’s the best part about running this business and what is your biggest challenge?
Man, the best part? There are so many! The top one is getting to know our super fans, the ones who really dig our food and our mission. As well being a part of the community, especially the eco-conscious community, and spreading green education to the public, through our food, our truck, and the media. We have been blessed with lots of press including my monthly segment on Channel 6 News (watch sample segments here).
The biggest challenge is finding the best locations to park the Green Truck. Most food truck owners will agree, sometimes it feels like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

How do you come up with menu items?
I receive weekly availability lists from local organic farms like Suzie’s and Sage Mountain Farms, with the listing of produce that’s available, and that inspires menu items like our Mediterranean Eggplant Tacos, and most recently our Butternut Squash Coconut Curry with seasonal vegetables.

What would you say is your most popular item?
Since our menu changes, our most popular item changes. But the top ones have definitely been our Grilled Chicken Pesto Wrap, and our signature Mother Trucker vegan veggie burger.

What is something “off the wall” that you would love to put on your menu but aren’t sure people would go for?
Hmmm……. I’d like to do an all vegan menu for a few weeks, but lots of people like meat! I’ve also wanted to do fried beet chips, dates stuffed with goat cheese, apples with homemade almond butter and raw cacoa… but all of those sound delicious, right?

Green Truck's signature dish, the Mother Trucker vegan burger.

What’s the best reaction someone has had to your food?
Recently we had another pleasure of working the Hillcrest Farmer’s Market, and Phil the owner of Sage Mountain Farms came to the truck and we traded food for eggplants, and I overheard him outside of the truck raving to people “this is amazing! Best food at the market!” Made my heart sing.

What is the best thing you’ve EVER eaten had from a food truck?  Which truck was it and where?

It was my first experience ever at a food truck… well, it was actually a food trailer in Austin, TX called Crepes Mille. They renovated an old silver Airstream trailer into a crepe truck. I was working on a street campaign for a client and wandered down Congress and found Crepes Mille. I had a savory chicken and mushroom crepe with sautéed spinach. Flavor country! Blew my mind.

Thank you to David for taking the time to do this interview. The Green Truck can be found on Twitter at @GreenTruck_SD or Facebook or their website.  You can also watch a piece from Oprah about Green Truck.