The Short and Skinny
Sustainable, farm-savvy T. Elizabeth Cramer fills house-made tortillas with fresh produce pulled fresh from the earth for vegan friendly tacos worth the queue at the Hillcrest and North Park farmers markets.
A smile breaks through the hustle of the Hillcrest Farmers Market, as San Diego native T. Elizabeth Cramer stirs enamel pots filled with locally sourced vegetables—many purchased from the farms just a few stalls down. Curls of cabbage and flutters of cilantro drop from the tip of her tongs. Each day the offerings are slightly different as the rhythms of nature are embraced.
After walking the standard line of life, Elizabeth stepped away from an office job and onto a popular DC food truck to study the food business (something she strongly recommends to anyone wanting to start their own edible empire). Invaluable lessons were learned, followed by a spell of disenchantment, replaced ultimately by a deep desire to really understand farming and sourcing.
Elizabeth jumped off the truck and knelt down closer to the earth. Elbow deep in organic soil, she spent just over two months WWOOFing (working through the World Wide Opportunities on)
“I thought it was too easy for an average farmer - practicing the very sustainable practices we as a population need most - to fall through the cracks. I thought that by opening up a food business dedicated to integrating their product into the food system, I could have a real impact if I became large enough,” she says, explaining her decision to return home to open FaVe tacos in August 2017.
A filling of an ombre of cauliflower, sourced from Oceanside’s Rodney Kawano Farms is roasted to a nutty brown and topped with a crisp red radish and apple slaw sourced from Smit Farms. Tender morsels of Mountain Meadow Mushrooms—a farm Elizabeth discovered in Escondido while collecting mushroom compost for a drought resistant yard—are deeply roasted in ancho sauce; a wild handful of lightly dressed red cabbage sitting atop. A medley of charred corn and zucchini from Carlsbad’s Valdivia Farms benefits from an apple slaw. If you come early enough, a chopped jicama salsa can be added to the breakfast tacos. When the seasons allow, you’ll also find kohlrabi, brussles sprouts, and tomatoes in the vegan lineup.
All the tacos are served on fresh corn tortillas and can be finished with a drizzle of nut-based crema and salsa verde—both scratch-made. “As FaVe Tacos has grown, I have managed to source more from local growers and hope to see that trend continue. I have my eye on more local items that I hope to add to my menu in the coming months,” she says of the careful sourcing practices she applies to non-vegan items as well.
What to Order
The Taco Trio ($10) currently offering a sampling of Roast Cauliflower, Mushrooms in Ancho Sauce (strongly recommended), and Charred Corn & Squash. You can pick your toppings, or let Elizabeth choose the best complements.
Hibiscus-Lime Zinger ($3), a effervescent flower tea with a tickle of lime and splash of seltzer.
Salad Bowl ($10) A carb-free, flavorful collection of your choice of toppings—again, ancho roasted mushroom are strongly recommended—served over a bed of leafy greens.
Pro Tip: A bottle of Inferno Farms Hot Sauce can found next to the register. The heat accents the brightness of the vegetables and the sweetness of the apple radish slaw.
North Park Farmers Market, 3960 Normal St, North Park, San Diego
Hillcrest Farmers Market, 3000 North Park Way, Hillcrest, San Diego
Sunday, 9am – 2pm