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

Top 10 Places to Camp in Minnesota

Looking for a way to enjoy Minnesota’s natural beauty this summer? Take a look at this compilation of the top 10 places to camp in the state of 10,000 lakes.

Circus 1903 Brings Fake Elephants, Real Performances to the Ordway

Circus 1903—The Golden Age of Circus brings circus acts from around the world to create a contemporary, cruelty-free take on the classic circus.

Minneapolis Biker Takes on Diabetes in Epic Ride

Follow Minneapolis' Abbey Brau as she bikes across the country to raise awareness about type 1 diabetes.

Road Trip Eats: Visit Madison

A growing food scene just four hours from the Twin Cities

The Craziest Combos Coming To The Minnesota State Fair

This year’s new foods arrive with no shortage of bacon

Summer Camp For Food-Loving Adults: Chef Camp

Book a north-woods excursion that challenges your culinary creativity among fellow foodies and big-time local chefs

New Features at TC Pride All About Inclusivity and Keeping the Peace

Dancers holding off protesters, a space for those with autism, and more

OXBEAUX Gets Cozy Before Eaux Claires Festival

The OXBEAUX Block Party offered an intimate pre-festival experience for nearly 2,000 guests featuring music from The Shouting Matches, Field Report, and more

Award-Winning Author Channels Northwoods in New YA Book

Minnesota native Margi Preus explores familiar scenes and events in her new mystery novel for young adults

New Hotel Lands on Lake Minnetonka

Lakeside hospitality returns after more than 50 years with the arrival of Hotel Landing

Best Father's Day Events

Take Dad camping, drinking, brunching, cruising the Mississippi, sporting an ugly tie, and more

Happenings at the Commons Park

Minneapolis gets some green space next to U.S. Bank Stadium—now how will we use it this summer?

Wildfam Travel Guides: How to Bring the Kids Along

A Minnesotan mom puts her love of planning and traveling to use, creating family-oriented vacation guides

How to Replace Your Doomed Ash Tree

While ash trees fall to insatiable beetles across the Twin Cities, it's up to us to maintain biodiversity in our yards
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags