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As warm weather returns to the South Peace, so do some tasty treats as food trucks wake from their winter hibernation.
This past weekend marked the first weekend for many returning to the streets for great eats.
For the last seven years, Corina McCollum has been behind the counter at the Fry Factory food truck.
“We started because my husband saw there was a need for it in the city,” she said.
The conversation with her husband began almost 10 years ago; after three years, she made the plunge and started the truck.
Fry Factory is now rolling into its seventh year serving the city and occasionally the surrounding communities. McCollum is also working on a trailer that could be brought to Beaverlodge, Sexsmith, and beyond in the South Peace.
This past weekend was the truck’s fourth this year. The big silver truck is often the earliest and last truck to leave the area.
While many food trucks wrap for the season around September or October, Fry Factor wraps January 1, ensuring Grande Prairie can get fries during the New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Although the many food trucks in the city often compete for locations and events that can only have a limited number of trucks, they work together to help each other.
Rani Sharma runs the Yum Curry food truck, specializing in Indian cuisine with homemade samosas, butter chicken and lamb curry.
She said the difficulty of running later in the season is the cold can freeze the water. Sharma says she would need to speak with McCollum on possible solutions so Yum Curry could extend its season. McCallum said a new furnace was recently installed in her truck to accommodate colder temperatures.
The first day of the year for Yum Curry was last Friday, and customers began arriving as soon as the truck opened.
Sharma arrived from India 12 years ago to work in hotel management, but her love of cooking and drive to have her own business led to Yum Curry.
“I wanted to have something of my own,” she said. “That’s why I wanted to start with a food truck; maybe in the future, I can open my own restaurant.”
Sunday Bunday’s owner Amanda Brown has her own ‘bun in the oven’ this year, so she expects to only operate for a limited time this summer.
“Because I’m pregnant, I’m like trying to take things super slow, but at the same time, I’m also rushing into stuff,” she said. She pulled her trailer out last weekend to begin prep for its opening day.
“My recipe for my cinnamon buns is my grandma’s recipe, and it’s something from my childhood.”
Brown is excited to share them with the community.
Last year was her first year operating Sunday Bunday. She said the food truck community was very accepting of her.
“It’s like our little food truck family.”
She noted McCallum and Obi-Wan Perogie’s owner Ashley Armbruster willingness to help her figure out her new job.
“It’s really hard when you’re starting up,” said Armbruster.
Food trucks operate under city bylaws and Alberta Health regulations; it can be challenging to navigate both sets of rules for when starting out, she said.
Obi-Wan Perogie kicked off its third year last weekend. The truck has many different perogy options with a Star Wars-themed twist.
Her truck was busy last Friday, and sold out of sausages; Armbruster was happy to see the familiar faces return for her business.
She remembers making perogies in her childhood, so she says this seemed like the right fit for her food truck. One day, she hopes to open a storefront.
This year many more mobile eateries will start the season at the food truck round-up on April 29 in the old Canadian Tire parking lot.
Jessica Lauchen and Keaton Lefebvre were out last Friday to check out some food trucks.
“I mean (food trucks are) a little bit more unique,” said Lauchen, comparing them to numerous food chains operating in the city.
Come summer, Lefebvre said they also keep their eyes peeled for particular ones, which serve up everything from tacos and grilled cheese sandwiches to fish and chips.
For many food truck operators, it seems the best part is seeing familiar faces return every season.
“The best part is that I love mingling with people,” said Sharma.
McCollum agrees, saying, “this city is doused with amazing people and friendly smiles.”
By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Apr 13, 2023