Amherst-based farm-to-table catering company Wheelhouse Farm will be launching a meal subscription service called Wheelhouse at Home that includes prepared meals made with local farm fresh ingredients for pickup or delivery. The subscription service goes live for orders July 26 and meals will commence on Aug. 5.
Will Van Heuvelen, who co-founded and co-owns Wheelhouse with Jake Mazar, said the meal subscription program is a necessary step for the business, which includes a catering service and food truck — with most events canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, things had come to a halt.
“It’s been pretty rough, but we’ve been extremely heartened by our community’s reaction to the pandemic and their willingness to support us and other local businesses as we strive to navigate the uncertainty posed by it,” Van Huevelen said, adding that the Amherst Business Improvement District awarded Wheelhouse Farm a $7,000 grant to help keep the business financially afloat.
The farm-to-table catering company also has been donating meals to community centers throughout the Pioneer Valley with the Essential Meals Project. Local area residents donated $50,000 to support the program, and, Van Huevelen said, “We have served at this point just under 5,000 meals.”
Gabrielle Chapman, the chef at Wheelhouse who created the menu for the subscription service, said the plan is based on the catering menu and includes seasonal produce and vegetables available locally.
“It’s fresh and flavorful food for people who may not have the time to make meals now,” she said, adding that some of the first menu items include a pulled pork sandwich on a brioche bun and fresh homemade cornbread.
Chapman said the upcoming menu also includes items such as pork ribs with a bourbon peach barbecue sauce served with corn on the cob.
As for how the meal subscription works, Chapman said every Sunday a menu will be released. People who are part of the subscription plan will receive an email and will be directed to menu options for meals during that week such as omnivore options, vegetarian meals and a picnic-style menu. Wheelhouse at Home will also be making its own barbecue sauces with fresh tomatoes and peppers, Van Heuvelen said, and seasonal fruit such as blueberries will be featured.
“Given the diversity that farmers around here offer, we have this incredible privilege of a really broad color palette to draw from to design menus with the foundation of locally and seasonally inspired menu offerings,” he said.
Chris Goudreau can be reached at [email protected] For more information about Wheelhouse Farm and to learn more about Wheelhouse at Home, visit wheelhousefarm.com/about-wheelhouse-at-home.