2021 - Volume #45, Issue #1, Page #22[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
“Supper Bus” Makes Field Meals Fun
“We used to haul tables and chairs in the back of the pickup,” Metzger explains. “It was a lot of work setting them up and taking them down each time.” Altogether, she serves meals about three months a year during planting and harvesting seasons for the Metzger families’ 11,000 acres of canola, pulse and cereal crops. Spring and fall can be cold, hot, windy or buggy which can create unpleasant outdoor dining conditions in their Carbon, Alberta fields.
After seeing a bus used on another farm, the Metzgers learned that decommissioned buses were affordable. They spent $1,600 for the bus and about $2,200 to customize it.
One expense was an inverter that Metzger’s husband, Marty, installed on the bus. It provides power for the refrigerator/freezer, coffee pot, lights and cell phone chargers when the bus is parked in a field. The rest of the time the bus is plugged in at the farm. Another expense was a custom-made John Deere green metal 8-ft. serving table with a lip to hold everything in place while on the road.
The Metzgers removed all the bus bench seats, then placed some of them along the bus walls and bolted them down. Metzger purchased 18-in. wide conference tables online to go with each bench. They are not bolted down so they can be moved as needed. Usually there are 10 to 12 people to feed during harvest and 6 to 8 people during planting time.
Condiments, water and frozen treats are kept in the refrigerator behind the driver’s seat, and the metal table makes it easy for everyone to serve themselves. A wash station is set up outside, and there’s a handy magnetic paper towel holder on the ceiling.
Metzger packs totes with disposable dinnerware for surprise guests, as well as cleaning supplies and other items.
“Over the years we have perfected the art of our ‘meals on wheels’ - learning what bags, boxes, crates, thermoses and coolers work best,” Metzger says.
Workers pack lunches for noon, so a good supper is important to keep them going into the night. Her menus include lots of meat, a starch, salad, vegetables and something sweet for dessert. Casseroles and fresh vegetables are popular.
To make it even better in 2021, she hopes to add a water cooler that uses big water bottles, instead of having to haul heavy pitchers of water from the house.
The bus makes everything easier for her and the crew, which includes three generations of the farm family and hired workers.
“It’s just been so handy and such a fun change. It’s more relaxed and comfortable so everyone is sticking around more, sharing stories and making plans for the rest of the day,” Metzger says.
She adds that hopefully in the future the bus will come in handy for fun family adventures.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Kyle Metzger, Valley Ridge Farms, P.O. Box 568, Carbon, Alberta, Canada T0M 0L0 (ph 403 321-0046; firstname.lastname@example.org).
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