In many cases, people who don’t live in New Jersey don’t know just how good we’ve got it here, especially when it comes to local produce and the farms dotted throughout the state who grow it. (We aren’t called the Garden State for nothing!)
We spoke with Daisy White Maurer, owner and operator of So Jersey Mobile Café, about how the South-Jersey-based food truck is serving up locally-sourced and grown Jersey Fresh ingredients in new and delicious ways.
JERSEY BITES: How did So Jersey Mobile Café begin?
DAISY WHITE MAUER: My husband and I had some background in food. I used to work in a bakery a long time ago and went to a vocational school to work in a bakery. This is all back in the ’90s [laughs]. I left the field for a while and I’ve been working in career services. My husband worked as a waiter at a country club long ago—we’re both super foodies. A couple years back we just both kind of looked at each other and really wanted to do something different than what we were doing. So we started looking at opening a food truck and what that would be like, and took the plunge.
We’re both southern-New-Jersey born and raised. I’ve lived here all my life, and one of the things that gives me reason to give people more details about what it’s like living in South Jersey is when we talk to people who aren’t from New Jersey. They have a preconceived idea about what New Jersey is. That’s really what inspired us to come up with the concept for the truck, we wanted to highlight all of the great things that are New Jersey, as far as cooking and then the availability of produce that we have here.
What do you enjoy most about operating the food truck?
The thing that I actually enjoy most about operating the food truck is the thing that I was surprised about the most: the community [of food truck owners]. We thought it was going to be cutthroat, like really competitive to the point where people were not going to be as nice to each other as they are. If you’re having a bad day, or you forgot something, or you need something, there’s no hesitation from any of the other food trucks if you’re at an event with them. Everybody’s kind of [extending] their hand to help each other out, which I find to be surprising and the best thing about having a food truck.
How long has So Jersey Mobile Café been in operation?
We’ve been in operation for about a year and a half now. We started in February of last year, so we’re still new. The first year was definitely rough [laughs].
Why is it important for the ingredients you use to be locally grown and sourced, and organic when possible?
I think it’s important for everybody to eat local. I might be biased but I kind of think New Jersey has the best produce. I mean, it’s just about supporting the farmers here that are growing these things and having everything as fresh as it can be.
What would you say is your favorite kind of Jersey produce?
I think tomatoes, because tomatoes also go into a lot of iconic New Jersey dishes. When you think New Jersey you think pizza, bruschetta, and meatballs—a lot of Italian things. I feel like if you were anywhere else but in New Jersey, those are the things that people associate with [the state]. When I travel around and they’re in season, I will bring people baskets of Jersey tomatoes.
What are some of the farms you’re affiliated with, and how did you go about finding them?
One of them is DanLynn Farms and they’re in Pedricktown, in the same vicinity as us. There’s a farm market and custard stand down here in Pennsville that we use, too. We discovered them because we live in Salem County—everything is right there.
What’s in season now and how is it highlighted by your menu?
Blueberries, for instance, we put in our cupcakes. We have a blueberry, Greek yogurt, and granola cupcake; we do blueberry cannolis; we have blueberry balsamic baby back ribs, we call them Baby Blues. Strawberries just came out of season, but we did a lot of stuff with those. What’s coming into season now is corn. We do a cornbread that we griddle on the flattop and serve with Jersey Fresh honey and butter. It’s really decadent. And tomatoes are coming out now. Our menu is very tomato-heavy. We do grilled cheeses with tomatoes; we do what we call So Jersey fries, and they’re basically fries that have bruschetta, with tomatoes and fresh basil, and a pesto mayo.
What are your most popular menu items?
Those So Jersey Fries are pretty popular. One of our most popular sandwiches is a peach, Brie, and bacon sandwich, with onions (pictured at top). It’s really popular when we do wine festivals and things like that because it’s a huge plate, only a sandwich. And our Caprese sandwich, with fresh mozzarella, tomato, and pesto. Those are pretty much our two most popular sandwiches. The sandwich menu is pretty standard but we will change it up in the fall.
How many times does the menu change throughout the year?
Every week or so you can expect a different sandwich to be on there. Definitely different cupcakes—those change. We usually have about six to eight flavors available and they change week-to-week. We try to include whatever’s in season. Peaches are coming up next too so we’ll probably do like a peach cobbler cupcake and a green tea, peach, and ginger one.
That sounds great! What’s your favorite item on the menu?
My favorite item would be the So Jersey fries. They’re just good. I mean tomatoes, basil, and there’s this pesto mayo that we use. And it’s on french fries, which you can’t go wrong with. It’s just bright.
Where can readers go to visit So Jersey Mobile Café?
They can go to the Westmont Farmers Market on Wednesdays from 4 to 7:30 p.m. and we are at McGuire Air Force Base on Thursdays. On select Saturdays in the summer we’re at Merchantville Farmers Market. And then the rest are different events that we have booked.
By Andrew Farinaccio