DURHAM — The nationally recognized and eco-friendly Gmonkey food truck made at a stop at the Durham Farmers Market recently.
Run by local residents – husband and wife duo Mark Shadle and Ami Beach – the truck serves organic vegan cuisine and uses only plant based materials in their operation.
“We get all organic stuff and we use purveyors that only source locally,” Beach said. “Tasting is believing. When we tell people ‘Just try this burger they can’t believe not only that it’s vegan but that it’s actually really good for them.”
They grow organic food at Shadle Farm in Durham. Utensils, straws, napkins and to-go containers are all compostable. According to their website, the truck runs on a “clean energy source” that is converted from organic vegetable oil.
Their interest in organic vegan and vegetarian food and the environment stretches back decades.
“I had done an apprenticeship at a French restaurant and I had been in the business for about 10 years before that,” Shadle said. “I just wanted to do something different and creative and not work with animal products, really, because I thought that was the wave of the future. That was 30 years ago.”
Shadle wasn’t looking to move to San Francisco or New York, which were “the only places that had multiple vegan and vegetarian restaurants at the time.” So he brought vegan and vegetarian cuisine to Connecticut with It’s Only Natural in Middletown.
Shadle has since left It’s Only Natural to run the Gmonkey food truck and the G-Zen restaurant in Branford with Beach.
In the 10 years operating the truck and restaurant, Shadle and Beach have earned recognition on news outlets such as NBC, CBS, CNN and FOX and have also been featured on the Food Network and in The New York Times.
The two also have a following in Durham, where the food truck stopped for the farmers market on Thursday.
“The food is very very good,” said Smiley Hiller, a Durham resident who has been supporting Shadle and Beach for 25 years. “All of this variety is outstanding.”
Gmonkey’s menu had over 20 items between food and beverages.
Jon Scagnelli, market master of the Durham farmers market, said that Gmonkey is “as local as you can get.”
“They call the town home,” he said. “Since we’re a farmers market and they do everything farm related; they’re organic, they’re all about plants and providing the best possible food.”