On a hot, sunny Thursday morning, shoppers lined up at the food truck — and some couldn’t resist gobbling up their purchases right away.
But instead of a sweet treat like ice cream, customers were there for locally grown produce, from tomatoes to peaches, onions, cucumbers and potatoes.
Thanks to customers who rallied around last spring — donating to help owner Amy Ernst add two new coolers to her mobile produce van — the business has been able to continue serving the Plainfield area.
Each week, Ernst loads up the truck with whatever fresh produce is in season, along with grass-fed, antibiotic-free meats, and heads out, making regular stops at neighborhoods and businesses in Plainfield, Oswego, Bolingbrook, Yorkville and Naperville.
Customers can also request a stop in their neighborhoods.
“I’m happy to come to you and you can shop right off the truck,” said Ernst, who makes deliveries free of charge in Plainfield and for a $5 fee outside the village.
Ernst was inspired to start Amy’s Organics a little more than a year ago.
“My daughter and I were planting our garden and we were talking about how you can’t get a good tomato [at the grocery store],” Ernst said.
As they were talking, they heard an ice cream truck go by.
“I said, ‘It’s too bad they don’t sell tomatoes off ice cream trucks,’” Ernst said.
Ernst, who was a stay-at-home mom, had hatched the idea for what would become Amy’s Organics.
“I started out like an ice cream truck, driving around neighborhoods, and that just didn’t work out,” she said.
So Ernst began scheduling regular stops — some in neighborhoods, some at locations including the and in Yorkville — so that customers could easily find her.
Every Monday, Ernst updates her website with information on her scheduled stops, along with what fresh produce and other organic items will be available for the week. She recently added grass-fed meats and wild-caught fish to the truck.
Ernst, 43, said she became interested in organic food after beating breast cancer five years ago. Her sister also battled the disease, Ernst said.
“I think it’s what we’re doing to our food supply,” she said of the prevalence of the diesease.
Ernst relies on certified organic farmers from throughout the area to stock her truck with pesticide-free produce.
For Ernst, the business is a labor of love.
“I have yet to make a profit,” she said, adding she had support from her husband, who immediately jumped on board with the idea for Amy’s Organics.
“He said, ‘I love your idea, and I know exactly what truck you need,’” she said, referring to the Ford van that she has customized with shelves and freezers to stock fresh produce and frozen meat.
“I just learned as I went,” she said of building the business.
This week, Amy’s Organics will make the following stops:
- 10 to 10:45 a.m. - Karma Skin + Massage/Sense of Samadhi Yoga, Yorkville
- 12:30 p.m. – 25143 Glen Oaks, Shorewood
- 3 p.m. – Manhattan Street and Delacourte Avenue, Bolingbrook
- 3:45 p.m. – Augusta and Boxwood, Bolingbrook
- 4:30 p.m. – Lakewood on Caton Farm subdivision, Plainfield
- 5:30 p.m. – Prairie Ponds subdivision, Plainfield
- 9:45 to 10:30 a.m. – C.W. Avery YMCA
- Noon to 12:45 p.m. – , Plainfield
- 1 p.m. – The Ponds subdivision, Plainfield
- 1:30 p.m. – Heritage Meadows subdivision, Plainfield
- 2 p.m. – Caton Farm and County Line roads, Plainfield
Amy’s Organics also appears each Saturday at the , which is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through Sept. 29 at the southwest corner of Route 59 and Lockport Street.
For more information, to place an order or to see this week’s list of available produce and meats, visit the Amy’s Organics website or sign up for weekly email updates by emailing email@example.com.