Matties Wood-Fired Pizza set to grow business

With a plethora of eating options at local farmer's markets, I decided to try Matties Wood-Fired Pizza. With fresh ingredients, including dough made fresh each day, the thin-crusted pizza's aroma lured me to join the food trailer's queue.
With a plethora of eating options at local farmer’s markets, I decided to try Matties Wood-Fired Pizza. With most ingredients grown locally, including dough made fresh each day, the thin-crusted pizza’s aroma lured me to join the food trailer’s queue.

With farmer’s markets springing up all over Fresno County in recent weeks, I joined the crowds in Old Town Clovis for the weekly summer street market.

While I initially wasn’t planning to eat dinner, my family and I stopped in front of Matties Wood-Fired Mobile Pizza Oven. The smell of freshly baked dough and local ingredients wood-fired in an Italian-made oven stopped me behind a queue of five patrons.

I have often joined the community bandwagon and eaten at local CartHop Fresno events, so pausing to watch my personal-sized, 14-inch, wood-fired pizza bake was a no-brainer. Cost? $6-8.

Owner Matthew (Mattie) Wolcott was kneading dough into thin crusted personal pies. The menu included up to 12 varieties of Neapolitan-inspired pizzas (VIDEO). My first taste of Matties Wood-Fired Pizza was split with my twenty-something daughter, Brittany. We decided to share two pizzas: 1) Pizza Vera: caramelized onions, fresh thyme with Maytag blue cheese and Enzo olive oil; 2) Mattie’s pistachio pesto pizza with fresh mozzarella, San Marizano tomatoes, and bacon.

Owner Matthew (Mattie) Wolcott left the education field to pursue Italian cooking, dreaming to cook and entertain with an authentic Italian oven.
Owner/operator Matthew (Mattie) Wolcott left the education field to pursue Italian cooking, dreaming to cook and entertain with an authentic Italian oven.

The pizzas came out piping hot. The mozzarella bubbled and the bacon’s aroma melded with the smokiness that one only gets when the BBQ cooks with almond and/or fruit wood. The freshly ground pistachio pesto was brilliant on the slightly charred, crispy crust, adding texture to the pizza. The tomatoes? Well, they were fresh, ripe, red, halved and full of flavor.

“We are pushing the pizza envelope,” Wolcott said. “We are pushing the pizza tradition, creating gourmet pizzas on wheels. This is good, clean, simple food. I’m just a simple person, using great flavors. Living in Valley I have access to incredible ingredients and I believe I am making incredible wood-fired pizzas.”

Mattie said his favorite pizza is the Vera. I concur. I’m a caramelized onion fan as well. That may be due to my own extensive time in the kitchen. The pizzas did not last long as we chowed down on the sweet and savory flavors.

Matties is gourmet pizza at its best. I must admit I longed for a glass of Paso’s Tablas Creek Estate Rosé, Santa Ynez Valley’s 2009 Martian Vineyard Grenache Rosé, Villa Creek’s Pink, Caliza Winery’s Pink or other Rosé alternatives.

However, the wine or beer option is only available for those who attend one of Matties weekly private parties. A bottle of iced water filled in just fine this time as June in the Central Valley heats up.

I shared  two pizzas with my daughter 1) Pizza Vera: caramelized onions, fresh thyme with Maytag blue cheese and Enzo olive oil; 2) Mattie’s pistachio pesto pizza with fresh mozzarella, San Marizano tomatoes, and bacon.
I shared two pizzas with my daughter 1) Pizza Vera: caramelized onions, fresh thyme with Maytag blue cheese and Enzo olive oil; 2) Mattie’s pistachio pesto pizza with fresh mozzarella, San Marizano tomatoes, and bacon.

After working in the performing arts field for four years, Wolcott (43) taught elementary school for two years before becoming a consultant for a publishing company in the Bay Area. He served as a local rep. selling textbooks and later led a charter school for three years. However, by 2010, he grew dissatisfied with his role in education.

“I really didn’t believe in the way education is mapped out. It was hard to sell something I did not believe in,” Wolcott said. “My passion for education began to wane. I didn’t like the education philosophy.”

However, despite his career choices, he has always had a interest in cooking. In fact, Wolcott used to watch the 1980’s PBS show, Ciao Italia, with Mary Ann Esposito and still follows it when he can.

The wood stone floor is kept at 750 degrees. The beauty of a wood-fired oven at that the temperature ensures the crust will not be soggy and the radiated heat cooks the top ingredients quickly.
The wood-fired oven stone floor is kept at 750 degrees. The beauty of a wood-fired oven is that its high temperature ensures the crust will not be soggy and radiated heat cooks the top ingredients in about two minutes.

“I’ve stuck with Italian for most of my life and so I felt it was time to strike out on my own, sharing my passion: wood-fired pizzas. I just wanted to cook. So I worked with someone in the Bay Area and began catering for two summers while I still was in education. That became the impetus for me to get a food trailer and begin making pizzas on my own almost three years ago.

“I knew I wanted to use a wood-fired oven, but it is my dream to cook and entertain with an authentic Italian oven. I turned to the Mugnaini Inc. from Watsonville who have been importing wood-fired ovens from Italy for 20 years.”

Matties Wood-Fired Pizzas start with fresh pizza dough made from scratch using Giustos flour out of South SF because it was recommended by a cooking school in Healdsburg. And while fresh local ingredients most often make a tremendous difference in culinary presentation, Wolcott believes the wood-fired oven changes everything.

“There is an art to it,” he said. “No gas flame here. I wanted to bake pizzas in an old-world style in an oven that will dry the dough quickly and brown evenly. While the pizzas are baking in the oven, they must be rotated to evenly cook. We usually use almond but apple and peach wood is also being used this summer. I love the smell of the wood in each pizza.”

Matties Wood-Fired Pizza can create 12-15 different pizzas and can be found at the local CartHop events, farmer's markets and private parties.
Matties Wood-Fired Pizza can create 12-15 different pizzas and can be found at the local CartHop events, farmer’s markets and private parties.

Mugnaini Inc. Italian wood-fired pizza oven (VIDEO)

The wood-fired oven’s stone floor is kept at 750 degrees and takes about two hours to reach that temperature. The beauty of a wood-fired oven is that its high temperature ensures the crust will not be soggy and radiated heat quickly cooks the top ingredients. The average time for a pizza in the oven is about 2-2.5 minutes.

Matties factoid: Mattie Wolcott’s favorite pizza is caramelized onion and blue cheese with thyme. He says it is great with a salad. He also says pizza lovers might try a bubbly Lambrusco Le Grotte white wine on hot summer days.

However, when he was pressed, Wolcott said he was mostly a red wine drinker. His favorite is/was the Jordan Winery ’95 Cabernet. However, he went on to say that he is not a traditionalist to wine choices with food.

Wine pairing anyone?

Currently Wolcott is relying on referrals to build his pizza-loving clientele and has only used one postcard mailing. His team uses a trailer equipped with a Mugnaini Italian oven and an enclosed tent to create the pizzas. His goal is to add a second mobile oven on a 20-foot trailer with a full kitchen. He plans on joining the other food trucks at events, including weekends at Bella Frutta.

Matties Wood-Fired Mobile Pizza Oven is a wonderful food alternative for those stopping for lunch/dinner at local farmer’s markets, a family reunions/gatherings, graduation, weddings, corporate parties/events, bridal rehearsal parties, baby showers and graduation parties. It reminds me of homemade Italian pizza.

Mattie’s has set up for oven-fired pizzas in backyards for small parties to large events at wineries. All they need is about three-four hours of prep. time before each event and an approximate number of guests. Each event may have additional costs, but Wolcott said a flat $350 fee would cover about 25 guests with each additional pizza eater rate at $6-8 for a 2-4 hour event. Matties will serve up to five pizza varieties at an event.

Pizza The sausage pizza has tomatos, Tuscan pork sausage, mixed mushrooms on an alfredo base.
The Alfredo sausage pizza has tomatos, Tuscan pork sausage, mixed mushrooms on an alfredo base.

On a typical day, Matties will wood-fire 100-200 pizzas but will increase those numbers for larger events. They have 12-15 different varieties.

Matties Wood-Fired Pizza Menu:

Monday: Site views/visits to map out area for private parties. Food offerings include but are not limited to wood-fired pizza, salad, dessert (berry crisp) biscotti, pasta bars, dinner party appetizers, roasted egg plant, arugula goat cheese, butternut squash, etc.

Tuesday: River Park Farmer’s Market, 5:30 – 9 p.m.

Thursday: CartHop Fresno, Fulton Mall, 11 a.m. – 2 .pm.

Friday: CartHop Fresno, Eaton Plaza, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Friday: Downtown Clovis Farmer’s Market, 5:30 – 9 p.m.

Finally, in an effort to increase business, Matties needs a bigger trailer. He is hoping that through social media, referrals and a Kickstarter account , a new $40,000, 20-foot trailer can be built by the end of 2013. Wolcott said he has already contacted West Coast Trailers in Madera for the specs. on a new trailer.

“I couldn’t have built Matties Wood-Fired Pizzas without the help of an army of people,” Wolcott said. “So many people have come along side of me to encourage and put their time in by volunteering hours upon hours to help me build a viable business. The Valley and Fresno/Clovis have been very good to me; the community has been so supportive.”

So through the Twitter, Facebook and Instagram social media, referrals and repeat customers, Wolcott is hoping to grow his business just a little more with a Kickstarter account. He said he felt awkward to ask people for money–even weird. However, this is an avenue he felt his supporters might consider. So if you are inclined to foster a home-grown business, #BeABacker: Mattie needs a bigger home.

For more information on Matties Wood-Fired Mobile Pizza Oven, call Matthew Wolcott at 559.917.1969 or email him at mattiesmobileoven.com. He can also be reached through Twitter: @MattiesPizza.

For more information on the Fresno’s food truck growth, including Matties Wood-Fired Pizza, watch the video, CartHop: Moving Food Forward by CreativeFresno559.

Carthop: Moving Food Forward

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Also be sure to read my Feb. 11, 2013, post: Bella Frutta hosts food truck hub each weekend.

NOTE: After struggling through illness during the winter, I am refocused and determined to restart TalesoftheCork on a weekly basis. Thank you for returning and a hearty cheers to you.

READERS: Have you tried the meals on wheels trucks or been to Bella Frutta? Leave a comment at the bottom of the article.

For more TalesoftheCork stories, scroll to the top of the menu bar or read The Grape Tray reopens in Fresno’s Opus I Center .

Bella Frutta hosts food truck hub each weekend

For nearly three months Bella Frutta on Willow and Shepherd has hosted food trucks, creating a local food port similar to other west coast cities.
For nearly three months Bella Frutta on Willow and Shepherd has hosted food trucks, creating a local food port similar to other west coast cities.

While Portland, Seattle and San Francisco all have local meals on wheels (food trucks), traditionally Clovis/Fresno has been served mostly by taco truck vendors. However, in the last three years, street food mania is roaming across the Central Valley, boasting mobile dinners that have diners returning to curbside cash and carry.

After the success of Taco Truck Throwdown 2 at Chukchansi Park at the end of August 2012, four trucks continue to make a name for themselves beyond downtown Fresno. While tacos make up the daily menu, each are creating a niche that has patrons standing in line. The Bella Frutta property hosts four food trucks each Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and often on Sundays on the corner of Willow and Shepherd.

While Bella Frutta is known for its fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and olive oil, gift baskets are available year round.
While Bella Frutta is known for its fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and olive oil, gift baskets are available year round.

Vincent Ricchiuti, Director of Operations at P-R Farms, Inc. , says Bella Frutta’s family fresh produce store is teaming up with four Valley food trucks to create the best weekend urban dining option in the two cities.

“After seeing the success of urban dining during trips this past year to San Francisco, Seattle and Portland,” Ricchiuti said, “I thought why can’t the Central Valley create a hub and food port? The area grows almost all the ingredients that make up great food, so why not make it happen here?”

And as it happened, it seems creative minds were working independently of Ricchiuti three years ago. All four food trucks who line the parking lot of Bella Frutta began independently creating delicious meals ala San Francisco’s Ferry Building.

TRUCK NO. 1: DUSTY BUNS
Dustin and Kristen Stewart, graduates of San Francisco’s Le Cordon Bleu, wanted to open a food truck in the Big City that specialized in local and organic ingredients. But combined with the need to purchase a truck and the $10,000 start-up fees, opening a food service on wheels proved impossible. So they decided to move to the Central Valley where most of San Francisco’s food trucks’ “local ingredients” came from.

Kristen, born and raised in Dinuba, California, convinced Dustin the San Joaquin Valley would be a natural place to begin. So the couple began to search for, buy and refurbish a taco truck they found in Selma. They dubbed it . . . “Dusty Buns.”

Dusty Bun creations are all made from scratch, including the original Eggman w Niman Ranch Ham (top left), -Linguica Chili Fries w/ Rumiano PepperJack and (right) and the original Original Dusty Bun-Mary's Organic Chicken slow roasted in our Chipolte sauce with a California sesame cabbage slaw.
Dusty Bun creations are all made from scratch, including the original Eggman w Niman Ranch Ham (top left), -Linguica Chili Fries w/ Rumiano PepperJack and (right) and the original Original Dusty Bun-Mary’s Organic Chicken slow roasted in our Chipolte sauce with a California sesame cabbage slaw.

“We found our food truck working the farm fields selling tacos,” Kristen said. “It was bright pink and we repainted it bright green and gold. While the colors weren’t exactly what we wanted, it works; the citrus and California color scheme are a perfect match for who were are. While we never sold to field workers, we did meet some of the farmers. Later we began our business selling on the streets of downtown Fresno … after we got our zoning clearance. Wishon downtown was our first beat.”

Dusty Buns is a kitchen on wheels. And, according to husband Dustin, the married couple of three years makes everything they sell from scratch. Their EggMan sandwich has a freshly baked bun, a slice of Niman Ranch ham, aged white Cabot cheddar cheese and a local fried egg from Page River Bottom Farm. Downright delicious and unique.

“We have someone come into our Dusty Buns Bistro near Fresno High and make all our buns in-house,” Dustin said. “We make all our own sauces for the sandwiches and coleslaw, grind maize for our tacos; we even make our own ketchup for the side of potatoes. And whatever we don’t make, we buy from local farmers or businesses who also only use the finest local ingredients. We promote local farmers who pursue organic and/or bio-dynamic practices.”

Kristen and Dustin Stewart made the commitment to Dusty Buns in Fresno after moving from San Francisco nearly three years ago. They own the Dusty Buns food truck and Dusty Buns Bistro near Fresno High.
Kristen and Dustin Stewart made the commitment to Dusty Buns in Fresno after moving from San Francisco nearly three years ago. They own the Dusty Buns food truck and Dusty Buns Bistro near Fresno High.

Kristen said the truck and bistro only use vegetables and ingredients that are in season or can get them locally through Balakian Farms. Their Dusty Bun sandwich uses Mary’s Organic Chicken slow-roasted in their homemade Chipolte sauce. Currently their dicon sesame cabbage slaw uses purple cabbage, purple onion and a specially prepared herbed aioli mayonnaise. Most sandwiches are $5. Side orders of bistro fries, soup du jour and market salads add $4 each. In the days to come, they will also offer a boxed lunch for offices. Any sandwich + any side + any sweet OR fruit juice for $10 (miniumum order in $20).

The Dusty Buns Bistro is just north of The Tower District at 608 E Weldon Ave., Fresno, CA 93704. You might catch their Bistro bus driving to Cru Wine Company in Madera selling lunch boxes or look for them in Fresno’s Tower District during the Mardi Gras Parade! Their menus and photos are posted daily on the Dusty Buns Facebook page and change with the seasons. Call (559) 486.2867 now to book a weekly office delivery or special event!

TRUCK NO. 2: BENADDICTION
James Caples owns what he calls a “brunch truck” since November 2012. The former corporate restaurant manager chose to alter his career path last year after his daughter died. Caples said his Benaddiction food truck focuses on eggs and breakfast-style sandwiches. Everything on the truck is named after a song in some form or another. Some after classic rock, some from more modern songs. That is why their logo is the egg and bacon guitar.

Each of Benaddiction's egg sandwich creations are named after rock songs or artists. James Caples started the food truck in November 2012 after the death of his daughter.
Each of Benaddiction’s egg sandwich creations are named after rock songs or artists. James Caples started the food truck in November 2012 after the death of his daughter.

“Benaddiction has two primary segments,” Caples said. “We focus on breakfast and our specialty is an eggs benedict breakfast sandwich served on an English muffin. It has a fried egg with hollandaise sauce. We can do this six different ways with different proteins and vegetables. My favorite is called ‘The Weight.’ It has pulled pork, bacon and BBQ sauce along with a fried egg and hollandaise sauce.”

Caples gave much of the credit for his truck being at Bella Frutta to Vincent calling him out to be a part of the truck event.

“I appreciate Vincent because he called me and invited me out,” Caples said. “This is unheard of in Fresno because we usually have to fight for our locations. Vincent and Bella Frutta have been so great to invite these trucks out, making sure we have a place to sell.”

The Weight is Caples' favorite Benaddiction sandwich. It has pulled pork, bacon and BBQ sauce along with a fried egg and hollandaise sauce on a English muffin.
The Weight is Caples’ favorite Benaddiction sandwich. It has pulled pork, bacon and BBQ sauce along with a fried egg and hollandaise sauce on a English muffin.

Benaddiction sandwiches or entrées cost $5 to $9 and they will occasionally create a special sandwich that costs up to $10. Caples and his wife Natalie own the truck and have hired a classically trained French chef, Jason Valencia, to create unique sandwiches.

“Our most popular specialty is a grilled cheese sandwich with pulled pork bacon and ham,” Caples said, “and includes a fried egg with BBQ and hollandaise sauce. While we do not offer any sides with the sandwiches yet, that is in the plans. Wanted to create a strong sandwich foundation first and then grow from there. We make the best egg sandwich in Fresno.”

The full Benaddiction breakfast and lunch menus are online on their web site. Additional photos and menu ideas are on the Benaddiction Truck Facebook page. For more information or to reserve a special event, call (559) 269.1968.

TRUCK NO. 3: TAKO BBQ
Not to be outdone by the two trucks on either side of them, Tako BBQ Fusion creates Korean fusion meals which barbecues meats and fuse them with other international food items. Originally from New Jersey, owner Tony Mullings and his Korean culinary-trained wife, Eun Joo Mullings, saw what was happening in L.A. with Kogi BBQ and believed they could replicate that success. So in April 2012, they started Tako BBQ.

After reading the food truck business was doing well in L.A., owner Tony Mullings and his Korean  culinary-trained wife, Eun Joo Mullings, started Tako BBQ in April 2012.
After reading the food truck business was doing well in L.A., owner Tony Mullings and his Korean culinary-trained wife, Eun Joo Mullings, started Tako BBQ in April 2012.

“While I was in marketing as a retail employee,” Tony said, “I wasn’t satisfied working for someone else. My wife, Eun, had been to culinary school in Korea and had worked for restaurants but also wanted to try something different. We read what others were doing in the food truck business in L.A. and the Bay Area and decided to strike out on our own.”

Their Kalbi (short rib) taco ($2) is ricco size with two small corn tortillas, seasoned ribeye meat topped with a sesame seed oil sauce and Korean spices, has become a staple for many of their customers. The spices give the taco depth and the meat is seasoned all the way through. This is a wonderful way to introduce a new twist on a local favorite. The Bulgogi and spicy pork tacos are also a great option. The Gogi burger is marinaded ground beef with jack cheese and a Korean spices seasoned salad in between the buns.

Tony said the favorite items off the truck are the chicken burritos ($6), the Gogi burger ($6) and the Korean cheesesteak: a Korean Philly ($7). Each has Korean spices, salad with a tangy vinaigrette dressing.

Tako BBQ Fusion creates Korean fusion meals which barbecues meats and fuses them with other international food items. The Gogi burger has marinated meat with Jack cheese infused with Korean seasoned salad in between the bun.
Tako BBQ Fusion creates Korean fusion meals which barbecues meats and fuses them with other international food items. The Gogi burger has marinated meat with Jack cheese infused with Korean seasoned salad in between the bun.

“We have been having a lot of positive comments about being out at Bella Frutta,” Tony said. “I like being on this corner because there is a lot of traffic and folks stopping to purchase items at Bella Frutta. So while the customers are here, they also come up to the trucks and add some food to go.”

The Tako BBQ web site is still under construction at the time of publication, but return to it in the weeks to come for more information and menu options. There are lots of photos of their food and menu on the Tako BBQ Truck Facebook page . However, please call (559) 473.3961 to book a party or reserve the truck for a special occasion.

TRUCK NO. 4: CRUMB SNATCHER GOODIES
While folks are eating their lunch or early dinner at the other three food trucks, the line builds for dessert or picnic favorites at the Crumb Snatcher Goodies food trailer. Owners Bob and Terri Brookshire create award-winning chocolate chip cookies, carrot cake and her Grandma Dot’s spice cake all in the mobile trailer.

After losing her husband in a tragic accident, Terri married Bob Brookshire in 2009. Today the two own and operate Crumb Snatcher Goodies.
After losing her husband in a tragic accident, Terri married Bob Brookshire in 2009. Today the two own and operate Crumb Snatcher Goodies.

Like the other food trucks parked with them, the Brookshires are still new to the mobile food gig–two years. Both Bob and Terri called each other their best friends and it was easy to see. However, their story of sweet breads, cookies and goodies is only a small part of their four-year married tale.

Fresno Bee writer Bethany Clough wrote in a June 7, 2012, article, “Eating out: Baking helps widow heal, thrive,” Terri is alive because of divine providence and an angel of a man who did not know her 4 1/2 years ago.

After a horrific car accident killed her first husband, Brad Issac, in May 2007, Terri was left with ankles that were mangled and wheelchair bound for months. And as Clough describes in the article, Terri believes God gifted her a second life with a man of faith and a second career: baking.

A registered nurse by day, Terri Brookshire has been baking since her childhood. Today she creates award-winning cookies, cakes and breads through her Crumb Snatcher trailer.
A registered nurse by day, Terri Brookshire has been baking since her childhood. Today she creates award-winning cookies, cakes and breads through her Crumb Snatcher trailer.

While Terri was recovering from her injuries, she baked to while away the hours.

“Baking was my therapy,” Terri said. “It helped me get through the hours of being alone. But I prayed God would send someone to help me.”

Months later, Terri needed a ride home from the hospital and her best friend asked her dad to pick up Terri and bring her home. In the days, weeks and months that followed, they fell in love and started Crumb Snatchers. Their chocolate cookies, carrot cake banana and pumpkin breads have all done first place honors at the Big Fresno Fair.

However, don’t be fooled by a trailer that has been only operated for two years. Terri has been baking since childhood, baking apple pies to earn extra money during the lean times of the last decade. Her months in rehab. gave her time to hone her skills.

“I love working the weekends out of the trailer with Bob,” Terri said. “We bake everything right here and sell it hot and fresh. We’re serving brownies, cookies and cakes and give out fresh coffee with any baked goods. In fact, while the chocolate chip cookies are our specialty, the snickerdoodles seem to go off the shelves really fast.”

For the last 15 years, Terri Brookshire has won first place ribbons at the Big Fresno Fair for her baked goodies.
For the last 15 years, Terri Brookshire has won first place ribbons at the Big Fresno Fair for her baked goodies.

Today, Terri still works 32 hours a week as a labor and delivery nurse at Kaiser Permanente. However, Terri and Bob make time to be involved with CartHop Fresno food trucks that meet up two or three times a week. Terri said they meet with other trucks near Applebees at Friant and Fresno streets on Tuesdays and Fridays on the Fulton Mall.

“While CartHop is a good gig for us to be involved with, our time spent at Bella Frutta is much different,” Terri said. “When Vincent met us at the River Park Farmer’s Market, he asked to taste our cookies. He was so encouraging and doesn’t expect anything out of us except that we have insurance. Vincent and the Bella Frutta staff are great people to work with. So expect us here on the corner of Willow and Shepherd every Saturday and some Sundays at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.”

Terri and Bob Brookshire can be contacted through their personal Facebook page beside the Crumb Snatcher Goodies Facebook page. For more information on The Crumb Snatcher Goodies trailer, contact Terri or Bob at (559) 297.0178 or (559) 360.7630.

BELLA FRUTTA ANCHORS FOOD PORT

Bella Frutta continues to sell its own freshly harvested vegetables, nuts, and fruit that are locally grown on the family farm since 1946. Today Patrick V. Ricchiuti and his son Vincent represent the third and fourth generation of agriculturalists who continue that tradition in Clovis.

“While we grow most of our own produce at Bella Frutta,” Vincent said, “we partner with area farmers to sell produce and merchandise. We grow heirloom tomatoes, squash, peppers in our own garden behind the store. Right now we are selling citrus and apples grown by our farms and soon we will be offering artichokes and strawberries from the coast.”

While Bella Frutta has sold fresh farm produce since the mid '40s, they now grow and bottle their own olive oil under the Enzo label.
While Bella Frutta has sold fresh farm produce since the mid ’40s, they now grow and bottle their own olive oil under the Enzo label.

The Ricchiuti family also partners with Fresno State’s Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market , selling their ice-cream, milk and sweet corn when in season. The newest addition to the store is their Enzo Olive Oil Co.. The olives are all estate grown and Vincent is the miller. He presses the olive oil and is certified. You can also visit them on their Enzo Organic Facebook page or watch ABC30’s AgWatch Video, “New, locally produced olive oil earns award” (August 15, 2012).

However, it is the partnership with the four food trucks that has Vincent excited.

“I love having the food trucks here each weekend,” Vincent said. “When I travel out of state and see the other truck food ports are doing, I know we have something similar here. I reached out to our local food trucks via Twitter. I believe we now have the best collection of food trucks in the Central Valley.

“I don’t charge them because it’s a win-win for all of us. There is an urban dining option in north Fresno/Clovis. I was looking for cross-pollination of customers to bring in more business and now we have created a food destination. We all not feel the competition is good. I think the customers appreciate the variety and, with more options available, more people are coming to our ‘experiment.'”

For more information on Bella Frutta Bella Frutta , contact Vincent Ricchiuti at (559) 298.8290 or drive out to Bella Frutta : 1959 N. Willow Ave., Clovis, CA 93619. The email address is info@bellafrutta.com.

READERS: Have you tried the meals on wheels trucks or been to Bella Frutta? Leave a comment at the bottom of the article.

For more TalesoftheCork stories, scroll to the top of the menu bar or read The Grape Tray reopens in Fresno’s Opus I Center .