Cart specializes in dietary needs

Photo Credit: Joyce Isleta

 Sun Farm Kitchens is not just a restaurant but a bit of a revival act. A chain link fence next to the east side’s Victory Bar, on 1106 E. 11th St., surrounds the eclectically decorated food trailer. Founded in 2010, the trailer mixes food with community involvement, encouraging community gardens and conscientious health choices. Recently, however, the food cart has revamped menu items after taking on a new chef, Emily Spykman.
“Some exciting things are happening,” said a smiling Kesten Broughton, Sun Farm Kitchens’ owner and founder. “We just did a food-for-art trade, and got this. He pointed to a glossy new mural on his trailer and the surrounding area. Unlike other food-trailer parks, Sun Farm Kitchens is surrounded by its own gardens, not other food carts.
“Most of our food we try and buy locally, and I say most because sometimes we’ll run out of carrots and have to quickly get some organic carrots. But, we get things from Johnson’s Backyard Garden, Wheatsville, Locinto Lamb for our lamb kabobs, Thunderheart Bison [and] Greenling Local,” Broughton said.
Sun Farm Kitchens specializes in gluten-free and vegan options, taking pride in providing dietary specialties.
“I’ve had a lot of experience in the service industry, as a pastry chef and as a line chef, but I’m mostly self-taught because of my own allergies,” Spykman said, referring to her Celiac’s disease, a disease that causes damage to the body’s small intestine due to its inability to properly absorb gluten.
The menu is reasonably priced and family-oriented, providing a bit for everyone. The Wow Salad! ($6) is perfect for vegans and non-vegans alike. The bright salad combines bits of green and red apples with green olives, fresh avocados and shredded golden beets on a bed of spinach. The mix of the olives and avocados, Broughton said, enables the salad to stand without dressing. It is one of his favorite salad recipes, given to him by a longtime friend.
The more filling Lamb Kabobs ($6) are served on a plate surrounded by celery greens, a warm golden pita and bright orange, spicy carrot chutney. The kabobs are separated with firm mushrooms and hints of the grill used to prepare the meat. While nothing mind-blowing, the surrounding sides support the dish. The tzatziki is prepared vegan-style, meaning Tofutti is used instead of dairy, and served with fresh dill from Sun Farm’s garden. While the tzatziki provides a soft, fresh pop to the kabobs, the spicy carrot chutney does the rest of the legwork. The chutney’s texture is similar to a fluffy hummus, yet its nicely balanced flavors impart a strong, spicy kick without the after burn experienced with most spicy food.
Yet, the most surprising item on the menu is the Avocado Milkshake ($5). Served with a dollop of cream and a sprig of mint, the simple mixture of avocado, coconut milk, agave nectar and ice tastes equal to if not better than a regular milkshake. The rich and refreshing flavors of the avocado combined with the slight sweetness of the coconut milk and agave nectar make for a paradoxical creamy-yet-light experience, as if the foam of an espresso was avocado flavored, slightly thicker and suddenly cold.
With a new chef and new murals, Broughton said Sun Farms Kitchens is looking forward to the future. They hope to continue expanding their local gardens, someday partner with a local nutritionist to help educate the community about dietary needs as well as the cooking options available, and eventually become a zero-waste facility — composting and recycling on site.