Schlop Stop provides a farm-to-food truck experience at the Longmont Farmers Market

From left to right: Michael Myrbeck, Shaun Burns, and Jake Downy pose at Sun Burns Farm.

Shoppers at the Longmont Farmers Market may have noticed a new addition to the food court this summer – a ruby red food truck named the Schlop Stop, which has been dishing out breakfast sandwiches, falafel plates, and farm plates since the beginning of the 2024 season. However, what customers might not be able to discern from the market itself is that the crew behind the Schlop Stop is also operating their own farm to bring their produce directly from farm to plate at every market.

The Schlop Stop story begins more than a decade ago, when Shaun Burns, Jake Downy, and Michael Myrbeck met in Hartford, Connecticut while attending college. They became fast friends; when Burns decided to move to Boulder, Colorado, in 2016, Downy and Myrbeck didn’t hesitate to join in on the adventure. They piled into a friend’s van and made the nearly 2,000 mile trek to Colorado as young 20-somethings, having little idea of what their next chapter would look like.

They stuck together in the years to follow, living as roommates while working in various industries to pay the bills. Burns began farming at Esoterra Culinary Garden, where he learned how to grow unique culinary vegetables and herbs that sell directly to restaurant wholesalers. Downy has been working in food since he was a preteen, and landed a steady gig operating a food truck in Boulder. Meanwhile, Michael was working in the outdoor industry, learning the ins and outs of business operations and logistics. When Burns pitched them on the idea of leaving their jobs to start Sun Burns Farm, they quickly discovered how their individual skill sets could culminate into a niche farm-to-table business model.

The Purpose Behind Sun Burns Farm

For Burns, farming isn’t a career, it’s an intentionally curated lifestyle. As the years went on, he could no longer justify working a job he didn’t love just for the sake of paying for his living expenses. When farming, he is able to work directly in and with nature, savoring the seasons as they come and go. Once he realized the difference farming brought into his life, he wanted to create something of his own – but of course needed his best friends to help make it happen.

With all three on board, Burns quickly sought out a solution to a big problem for most beginner farmers: land. He got connected to private landowners, who had been working with agricultural consultants and farmers to restore their farm property. Miraculously, the property came equipped with two large greenhouses, a lake with a pump house, and a newly built barn. With the infrastructure in place, they were able to quickly get to work on setting up vegetable production, adding 30 wheelbarrows of compost and broadforking 50 beds all by hand. “A lot of people asked me, ‘Why are you doing it like that?’ The problem is machines are very heavy, and using them would have just further compacted the soil,” Burns explained. “Doing things by hand also helps you become more acquainted with the soil itself,” he added.

A fresh head of broccoli harvested by Burns at Sun Burns Farm.
A Food Truck That’s Ready to Serve

Downy and Mybeck had always dreamed of opening up their own falafel truck, inspired by what they described as the perfect falafel they discovered at a family restaurant in Connecticut. As roommates, they had attempted to replicate the recipe hundreds of times, getting closer with each iteration. But, in addition to knowing what they wanted to serve, Downy also had a clear vision for how to serve it. He noticed that many food trucks work a similar model to restaurants, where you may order your food but not receive it for 20 to 30 minutes. However, he feels the purpose of a food truck is to get food out quickly. This means keeping a tight and reliable menu and focusing on quick turnaround times.

Of course, as many eaters know, you can make a simple dish that tastes incredible when you incorporate the right ingredients. Sourcing the majority of their ingredients from Sun Burns Farm, a side salad from the Schlop Stop is going to be far superior than a flavorless iceberg medley from a diner. Right now, Downy’s favorite dish is the farm plate which highlights Sun Burns Farm’s seasonal produce in a filling, vibrant dish. And for what they can’t source on their own, the Schlop Stop turns to other market vendors, like Crooked Roots and Grama Grass & Livestock, for local eggs and meat.

Check out the Schlop Stop this Saturday at the Longmont Farmers Market from 8:00am to 1:00pm, and follow them on Instagram at @schlopstop.

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