'Food incubators' ride recap

Cyclists sample some delicious OH! Chips during a stop on the ride. Photo credit: Bryan Barr

Cyclists sample some delicious OH! Chips during a stop on the ride. Photo credit: Bryan Barr

Already warm, the day started as a typical August morning. Despite the heat, about 70 cyclists were gearing up for the monthly themed ride Year of Yay! has become. Amongst us were children and some Year of Yay Bikes! first-timers. 9 miles later, we arrived at Food Fort. Several food trucks were heading out to start their day as we arrived. Jen Gable, Food Fort Administrator, opened up one of the garage doors allowing us the cool of inside and an opportunity to replenish our water bottles. Jen described how Food Fort and ECDI rent out storage and prep areas for the businesses, as well as providing business loans to get them off the ground. During the kitchen tour, Jesse and Katie of Nellie's Natural Ice Pops were in there readying a batch of popsicles. We would be seeing them and sampling their wares at the last stop!

Onward to our next stop which took us through central city to Franklinton. In a small unassuming building next to Franklinton Gardens, some of the town's tastiest potato chips are born. Brian Thornton, founder/creator of OH! Chips, welcomed us with his traditional pirate flag and bowls of chips for sampling. He walked us through the chip-making process—100 pounds of potatoes comes out to a surprisingly small amount of chips after all is said and done. Also on display was his first fryer—a donut fryer he bought off Craigslist. He had started off at Food Fort with that fryer until demand outstripped his capacity there, necessitating the need for the factory.

The final stretch of the ride was almost entirely on the Scioto Greenway Trail. The shaded portions and forested quiet was a welcome change of pace from the streets. In front of The Commissary, Asian Persuasion Food Truck, one of Columbus' newest trucks, was ready with some delicious Filipino food. Jesse and Katie were back with a cooler full of popsicles in refreshing flavors. Inside, JC's Just Chili had dropped off a tureen of amazing gazpacho for anyone to try.  It was delicious. Karen (filling in for Commissary founder Kate Djupe, who was on a much needed vacation) invited the group to explore the space and explained some of the upcoming events and cooking classes.

Finally the group returned to Whole Foods, where more eating, drinking and good camaraderie took place. It's going to take a couple of rides to work off all that was eaten that day...yet another successful Year of Yay!  Thank you, John.