By Patrick Kelleher-Calnan
“Businesses aren’t really hiring right now,” said Josh Danoff, part owner of the bike-based food vendor Culinary Cruisers, “but I’m looking to hire about ten people in the next month or so.”
The company, founded by Danoff and his sister Leah Danoff[b] last July, brings Kombucha tea and other products to farmers markets around Boston via specially designed cargo tricycles. This summer they are rolling out three new trikes to distribute fresh fruit popsicles. Culinary Cruisers has joined a host of bike-based companies that are bucking the sour economic trends, such as the new and thriving Ashmont Cycles shop in Dorchester, the Hubway bike share, and Geekhouse Bikes with their new “HQ” bike innovation space in South Boston.
“I lived in L.A. a few years back, when the food trucks out there were just getting started,” said Danoff. “I kicked around the idea of starting a food truck with my brother… but the more research we did, we found there are people doing really cool, innovative stuff on bikes. We thought it would be an interesting angle to take, especially with the green aspect of it.”
The bikes plus farmers markets strategy proved fruitful, and this season Culinary Cruisers will be pedaling their Kombucha and popsicles to farmers markets at Dewey Square and Government Center in Boston, Kendall and Harvard Squares in Cambridge, and Union Square in Somerville.
“Using bikes has the advantage of allowing us to be on the Greenway, but we can also fit into a farmer’s market,” said Danoff. “We have a smaller footprint than a food truck or even a regular vendor. I think that we’re at a really interesting time right now with food and transportation in regards to how people get to food, and how food gets to people.”
The Danoff’s have a history with both entrepreneurialism and healthy food. In the 1960s their parents owned a natural food store in Amherst. Their grandfather owned a textile business in New York before that. “I’ve been told I do business like my grandfather,” said Danoff. And he also steals a few ideas from his parents health food store.
“There was really a community,” he said of their shop. “That’s been one of our overriding principles with this company. There’s a great cycling community here [in Boston]. It’s a really cool time to be involved with food, and bikes, and farmers markets. I find I’m right in my element.”
[From the Editor— Curious about this company? Sample some of their donated treats and check out their bike at the Union’s upcoming Super Spring Kickoff Bike Party Fundraiser.]