Larica Micro Taqueria strives to rise above the norm in the festival vendor game, and it’s safe to say they’ve done a pretty damn good job of it! Boasting an all-natural, made from scratch and locally sourced menu, the imaginative and delicious creations whipped up by Cristina Farmer are the bee’s knees. After indulging in these awesome tacos back at Highberry Festival in June, we knew we had to get the lowdown behind the Larica story for ourselves, and Cristina was more than happy to oblige! Read on as get to know the genius behind some of the most mouthwatering tacos you’ll ever find on the festie scene.
Keep up on all things Larica by following their social outlets, and finding them at festivals such as Flux Festivals, Highberry, Hillberry / and Legends of Arkansas.
CYM: You mentioned having a background in culinary beforehand. Had you operated a food truck prior to starting the company?
CF: Yes, soon after I broke away from working at the casual fine dining scene around 2008, I went to live off the grid in New Mexico right along the Arizona border. I was trying to figure out an interesting way to make a living, when my old partner bought a 32 ft. vintage Airstream, which we decided to make into a gourmet sandwich shop. We were going to do a coffee shop until we realized we were in Mormon country – Mormons do not drink coffee! Little did I know, a new wave of food trucks, the ones offering real and creative cuisine were starting to pop up in the Pacific Northwest where it exploded that same year. Meanwhile we’re in the middle of nowhere hustling gourmet sandwiches with regionally informed flavors like hatch chili and mesquite smoked meats.
CYM: Tell me about your hens! How long have you had your current flock, and how did you acquire them?
CF: Little Junior and Madonna, two of our hens came into my life as gifts. Little Junior was too smart and kept finding ways to get to the garden. She’s the daughter of Little, a friend’s pet chicken. Little moved to the country after Hurricane Katrina, and went to live at a farm with other chickens and started having lots of babies. Madonna came from the same friend’s farm. Unfortunately, some of the other hens, came from the ‘farm store’, but some were hatched locally. Our white Bamton rooster came to us because he was in need of a new home. This little guy is so gentle and takes great care of his ladies by sharing food. He loves to get on top of the fence, spread his wings and give us all a little serenade.
CYM: What unexpected road bumps have you encountered since opening Larica’s?
CF: Other than getting a flat tire while on our way to a festival, there hasn’t been anything that was a real set back. I tend to see road bumps with optimism, with an eye for opportunity, even if just to learn a new lesson or to figure out a creative way to solve a problem. Trusting my instincts has been somewhat of a process. I tend to be disciplined and conservative, and sometimes taking a big leap is the way to go.
CYM: How do you choose which recipes make the menu, and what seems to be the most crowd pleasing?
CF: Our mission is fulfillment. Every taco that makes it onto the menu has high nutrients in plant-based-protein and good fat. Clean and smart brain food that makes you feel like you’re indulging but at the same time leaves you feeling good afterward. The menu for each event is seasonal, driven by what’s happening at our gardens or at the local markets. I think what pleases our customers the most is how approachable our food is – it’s a mix of home cooked ‘party food’, and ridiculously affordable in comparison to the quality and freshness. The Qui & Poe Taco and The Green Heart Taco are a pleasing match, and our Larica Breakfast – grilled egg, chard, kale, and date-tomato jam – is always a sell out. But our newest Boy Eats Taco has gotten a lot of people excited.
CYM: What do you think is the most important quality you look for when sourcing your produce?
CF: First, I really value the relationships with every food grower. Having this direct relationship makes it possible to source products at its peak, and that is what I look for as far as flavor; a perfectly ripened fruit is the most delicious thing about nature. Growing our own gardens or foraging here in the mountains allows me to use products I might not find at a market, such as mache, nasturtriums, nettles or mushrooms. Our water comes from a spring, and I think it should make a difference on how our veggies taste.