As The Weather Warms, Food Trucks Hit The Streets
Lined up in a circle around Dewey Square Plaza, a handful of food trucks await the arrival of hundreds of hungry customers on their lunch breaks.
Before the lunch rush begins, vendors greet one another with fist bumps and handshakes, shouting various greetings out of truck windows. Since the first trucks hit the streets in 2011, the food truck community has been consistently supportive of each other, their jovial manner only amplified by the long-awaited arrival of sun and warm weather.
As the spring season reaches Boston, one of the city’s newer and most cherished traditions includes the reemergence of food trucks. Whether it’s a sunny, outdoor lunch break or a weekend family festival, Boston’s mobile eateries make the unpredictable spring season that much better. This April, the city will have 56 trucks dishing food out in Boston’s neighborhoods, up from just 15 when the city launched a food truck initiative in 2011.
On April 1, this year’s food truck season began, with a majority of vendors setting up shop in the streets of Boston. Many of the food trucks are taking advantage of the new policy implemented by Mayor Martin J. Walsh, WCAS ’09, which allows for expanded hours of operation at Copley Square, Boston University, and Northeastern University. The new regulations allow food trucks to stay open until midnight on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
For more than a century, the arrival of spring in Boston has also been affectionately linked with the peak blooming time of the world-renowned Lilac Collection at the Arnold Arboretum. On May 11, the Food Truck Festivals of New England will be teaming up with Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain to host the 106th annual Lilac Sunday celebration.
A premiere springtime event in New England, Lilac Sunday offers Bostonians a chance to enjoy warm weather, beautiful flowers, and a variety of activities. Festivities include ongoing tours of the Arboretum’s lilacs and other collections, children’s activities, displays, and demonstrations.
The tradition of this event began more than a century ago as a celebration of the Arboretum’s beloved lilacs, a one-of-a-kind collection of nearly 370 plants representing over 176 different kinds of lilacs. Recently, the festival has taken place on Mother’s Day, hoping to encourage families to visit the attraction in celebration of the holiday. In past years, the event has seen thousands of visitors, and this year 20,000 people are expected to file through the area.
This Mother’s Day event will be filled with 11 of Boston’s best food trucks, which all range in their food options and prices. The large list of trucks includes many big names in Boston, ranging from Batch Ice Cream to Boston’s Baddest Burger, Cameo Macaron, and Captain Marden’s Cod Squad.
“We were contacted by the Food Truck Festivals of New England to participate in the festival,” said Kinesha Goldson, the founder and owner of Cameo Macaron. “This is our first event at the Arboretum, and we are very excited to be part of this huge food truck event that is expected to see between 20,000 and 30,000 people.”
Goldson, unable to find a suitable macaroon in Boston after studying abroad in Paris as an undergrad at Northeastern University, founded Cameo Macaron in the summer of 2013. Her company took off from there. Cameo Macaron currently offers 14 flavors of the delicate French confections, and they are sold throughout Boston at various special events, including weddings.
“The weather has been a big factor for us this spring,” Goldson said. “There have been many pleasant Thursday and Friday nights that have worked well for us, as families and workers swing by and pick up a box of chocolate macaroons.”
Another company that is excited about the upcoming Mother’s Day festival is Batch. This ice cream company is no stranger to the food truck business, and it was founded in 2009 with the tenet of producing ice cream with only natural ingredients.
“We operate our food truck business from mid-April to October, and our truck came out the door last weekend,” said Susie Parish, the co-founder of Batch. “Our main business is selling pints of ice cream at places like Whole Foods and Shaws, but we make a money at festival events like the Lilac celebration.”
On May 11, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Harvard Arboretum will invite flower enthusiasts, outdoorsmen, and families and children to absorb the sights and scents of the spring season.
“This event is at an incredible location with thousands of people outside, having fun, and enjoying food in Boston,” Parish said. “Food trucks, beautiful flowers, and Boston. There really isn’t much else you can ask for.”