Edit ModuleShow Tags

Gateway Trailside Food Truck

A farm located along the state trail in Stillwater offers refreshing eats


Published:

Gateway Trailside food truck, Spruce Hill Farm
Photos by Valerie Turgeon

I was rolling along the Gateway State Trail wearing my favorite footwear (rollerblades) with intense concentration, as if in a video game, dodging sticks and wet leaves, and trying to predict the obstacles ahead. Note: fall is not the best season to go for a leisurely rollerblade. But when the path was clear and I could relieve my laser focus, I looked up to appreciate the fall scenery, the still and peaceful ponds, the bluebird resting on a branch, the horses jauntily trotting by on the dirt trail running parallel, and the solitude of getting away.

That’s what I love most about this section of the Gateway Trail between Mahtomedi and Stillwater. It starts in St. Paul, so it’s close to the Cities, but the further out you travel, the more rural and woodsy the trail becomes. On one outing, a gardener snake slithered by, and we once rescued a small turtle in danger of getting crushed by bicycle traffic.

But what about when you’re in the middle of your trek and you grow weary and hungry and you realized you forgot to pack that Cliff bar? That’s where the Gateway Trailside food truck in Stillwater comes in. For a trail with sections that wind through dirt roads and tree covered land without a car in sight, it seems like a good idea for a farm to offer food—incredibly fresh, tasty, and healthy food.

When you approach Trailside, located on Spruce Hill Farm, you instantly feel welcomed. Decorative signs and potted plants and flowers catch your attention on the side of the trail that lead up to the food truck. On the brisk October day that I visited, a small fire was crackling and a group of women were laughing and thoroughly savoring their break from biking. A few outdoor farm cats were also enjoying the weather as they monitored the area.

Gateway Trailside food truck, Spruce Hill Farm
Trailside's sign on Gateway Trail

The menu is short, but almost everything is homemade, and owner Tamra Hartman says she buys produce locally when she can. Most herbs are grown right on the farm—I saw her hand pick the basil for my strawberry basil lemonade. And the menu is reflected by the season. As an October special, made-from-scratch chicken noodle soup was offered, which was nice and hot, freshly seasoned, and packed with veggies and noodles. We also got a small hummus plate with tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and crackers. It’s food that won’t fill you up too much, but will energize you for all those miles you have left to run, bike, rollerblade, or trot (there’s a designated area for horses to rest at Trailside!). Hartman then sent us off with freshly baked ginger snaps and snickerdoodle cookies.

The only way to get to Trailside is by taking the Gateway Trail. There is not yet a parking lot, so you’ll have to put in a little more effort to get your meal, but it’s certainly worth it—not just for the food, but the hospitality. It’s obvious that Hartman loves meeting trail users who stop by. Since opening in 2015, she’s organized special events, bringing in musicians such as Reina del Cid, and hosted bonfires for trail users to snack on s’mores. Come winter, Hartman has talked about converting an old barn into a warming house for snowshoers and cross-country skiers.

My only disappointment is that I didn’t rollerblade on the Gateway Trail sooner to stumble upon the food truck. Hartman says she will close by the end of October, but with the leaves almost at their peak, it’s a great time to get on the trail.

Follow Trailside on Facebook for hours and special events. Trailside is located between Lansing Ave. and Hwy. 96 at mile marker 15.

Gateway Trailside food truck, Spruce Hill Farm
Strawberry Basil Bliss

Gateway Trailside food truck, Spruce Hill Farm
Homemade chicken noodle soup

Gateway Trailside food truck, Spruce Hill Farm
Gateway Trailside food truck is located on Spruce Hill Farm

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Lantern Light Festival Celebrates Chinese Culture at Canterbury Park

Shakopee is the temporary home of dazzling lanterns illuminated in lights, Chinese performances, and a unique family-friendly experience.

Get Ready for a Sweat Fest

ALTR’s fitness classes in Minneapolis' North Loop are a high-octane thrill ride with a one-way ticket to shredded

Photographing the City on Your Lunch Break

Local photographer Wayne Moran leads afternoon tours through picture-perfect Minneapolis

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: October

Help out mothers and children dealing with homelessness, fight against cancer, and contribute to a north Minneapolis bakery with the Cookie Cart.

Best Minnesota Town Last Call for Votes

Help one of these 10 cities advance to the finals for a chance to win a party in their town, $50,000 toward an advertising campaign, and an editorial feature in Minnesota Monthly magazine.

New Fall Drinks at Tattersall Harvestival

The NE Minneapolis distillery features four apple-based drinks to celebrate autumn

Small Press, Big Impact: Graywolf's 2nd Literary Salon

Graywolf invited writers Layli Long Soldier, Carmen Maria Machado, and Danez Smith to the stage to challenge the status quo

New Places to Shop and Eat at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

MSP Airport's revamp just bumped it up to 6th best in North America—now with indoor food trucks, local brews, therapy dogs, and a golfing simulator

From Writer to Mid-Wife: St. Paul Writing Workshops Highlight Strength in Vulnerability This Month

Leading workshops through October, St. Paul author Ellen Sue Stern on the healing of writing

DNR Predicts Unusually Vibrant Fall Colors: Find the Best Spots

The MN DNR is predicting an especially colorful fall season due to ideal summer weather conditions. We found five spots around the state—including Lanesboro and Lake Superior—with great autumn views.

Duluth Indie Bookstore Celebrates Opening

Zenith Bookstore opens in the face of Amazon and free two-day shipping—because this Duluth retired couple knows that people love shopping small

What It Means to Light Up the St. Anthony Lock

A colorful light show fills the now-defunct lock with its own history

Save the Date for Unveiled Bridal Show September 17

Unveiled isn't just a bridal show, it's a fun and memorable experience.

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: September

Twin Cities galas to watch out for this month include a masquerade ball for diabetes, drumming for families, and the Walker Art Center's Avant Garden
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags