You’ve been skiing, hiking, rowing on the river or strolling through Drake Park when it’s time for a food break. Only, the meal you packed isn’t exactly exciting. A plain protein bar. A half-smashed sandwich. A browning banana. The food is bland, the texture is off or it’s just not enough calories. It’s tough finding food that checks all the boxes and adds to your enjoyment of the outdoors. A few local companies are working to change that, by creating enticing food options that offer flavor, fuel and a break from prep work.
Jackson Higdon opened Luckey’s Woodsman, his new food truck offering “elevated backcountry cuisine,” on Mount Bachelor in December. Post-ski season, Higdon moved his truck to the new food truck lot at Silver Moon Brewing that he helped launch.
Luckey’s Woodsman was Higdon’s “pandemic lemonade.” In March 2020 he was laid off as chef and general manager at Riff Taproom. Higdon was sad to leave, but understood the company’s need for a new direction. He spent the summer backpacking, reflecting and scrambling to cook outdoors. As a chef, even Higdon has a love-hate relationship with cooking while camping. “I hate it, I make a big mess, it takes me a long time,” Higdon said. But he doesn’t believe he or anyone else should compromise good food to get outside. The basis for Luckey’s Woodsman was born.
“I talked to forest rangers, retirees doing big bike races, firefighters,” Higdon said. Many of them were cooking good food outdoors, but it took hours of planning and preparation. He found others running around last minute, overspending, and once outdoors, spending more time cleaning up longer than they had enjoying the food.
At the truck, Higdon offers dishes like the Italian Stallion sandwich to be savored onsite, meals to grab and go for the day and camper kits, available
as cold boxes or hot kits, like his mac and cheese with cured smoked salmon. “It’s the way to say yes to a weekend trip, it’s the way to have a better lunch when you’re doing a day trip,” Higdon said. If you’ve been designated as the trip chef but you’re not the most confident cook, consider giving Luckey’s Woodsman a go.
To see what’s on the menu, visit luckeyswoodsman.com.
Food for the Sole
Bend-based mother and son co-founders Julie and Henry Mosier opened Food for the Sole in 2017, after they, too, were dissatisfied with their food experiences on the trail. “It was so important for us to eat well while outside,” she said.
Julie grew up hiking and camping, but bags of licorice were about the only food highlight she remembers. “When I started backpacking as an adult, I was simply not satisfied with the meals,” she said. “The meals I found didn’t match the experience.”
After Henry asked his mom to supply meals for two for about 220 miles on the John Muir Trail, Julie began experimenting, crafting dozens of dehydrated meal kits, determined to make them calorie dense, physically light, healthy and tasty with a variety of texture.
The hobby grew into a passion they both decided to pursue full-time,
with the goal of helping people enjoy good food outdoors. All of their meals are vegan, gluten-free and can be rehydrated with a cold soak.
Some of those first meals Julie made were “gems” for sale as Food for the Sole meals now, namely the Lentil Walnut Pilaf with Kale and the Triple Peanut Slaw. Food for the Sole offers all of their meal kits online, as well as at select stores in Bend, the Pacific Northwest, California, Colorado and Utah. “From a food standpoint, and, we feel, from an ethical and social standpoint, everybody should have access to the outdoors, whatever that looks like for them,” said Julie, who is doing her part to make sure that special dietary needs aren’t a barrier for those who wish to venture into the outdoors.
Find out where to buy at foodforthesole.co.
Bend Agave + Bountiful Boards of Bend
Tiffany Caston and Tina Failla also hope to help people enjoy dining outdoors with less stress, with their companies Bend Agave and Bountiful Boards of Bend. Bend Agave is a pop-up picnic company, offering a service that sets up and breaks down luxury picnics. Book a session with Bend Agave, and Caston will plan, set up and clean up a chic picnic experience for you and your crew at your location of choice around Bend. Though the pop-up picnic experience is new to Bend, companies like Bend Agave have already blown up in popularity in California and Florida.
Caston’s pop-up picnics are what glamping is to camping, with plush seat pillows around a low-set table, real dishware, cozy blankets and aesthetic touches like pampas grass and candles.
Guests can bring their own carefully crafted meal from home, their favorite takeout to go or, as an extra, book catering by Failla at Bountiful Boards of Bend, which offers the mouthwateringly loaded beautiful charcuterie boards you can see on their website and social media channels.
Both women started their businesses individually in 2020: Caston after experiencing a pop-up picnic herself on a beach in Florida and Failla by following a creative spark to turn her love for food creation into a full-time career. The two connecting was kismet, especially in a time when so many were tired of doing all their own meal prep and cleanup and craved time outdoors. In the eyes of Caston and Failla, the pop-up picnics and charcuterie boards are the perfect way for people from all walks of life, outdoorsy or not, to enjoy time outside in Bend, whether that’s in Drake Park or your own backyard.