♥ Hispanic Heritage Month
SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- Born and raised in Peru, Nelly Baxter has spent nine years sharing her heritage and culture at farmer’s markets around the Ozarks.
Nelly and her husband Ronald operate a food truck serving delicious dishes from Peru. You can find the couple at the Farmers Market of the Ozarks almost every Saturday. Nelly serves dishes like empanadas, Peruvian tamales, chicken and rice, and an occasional special dish.
Before coming to the U.S., Nelly went to college to become a lawyer and practiced in Peru for 20 years. She then came to Springfield to study English at Ozarks Technical Community College.
During that time, Nelly met Ron and decided to stay.
“Nelly didn’t like the way I cooked, so from then on, she cooked,” said Ron.
That’s when she introduced him to Peruvian food. It was a hit with Ron.
“Oh, I love it. It’s good,” he said.
From there, it was time to introduce the rest of the Ozarks to some of her signature dishes.
“People didn’t know what the flavors were, what anything was. In fact, some even asked me where Peru was,” she says.
Her food truck is a success. Something Nelly never thought would happen. But it’s more than a business for her, it’s about sharing her culture.
“I love my country, I love its culture, and one of the best ways to share something from my country is to cook. For people who never in their lives had tried Peruvian food,” says Nelly.
Nelly uses meats from the farmer’s market like elk and bison in her empanadas.
“here at the farmer’s market – there’s a vendor who sells Elk meat. And I use that my empanadas,” says Nelly.
Nelly is the only Peruvian vendor in the market and enjoys getting new customers and regulars. Some customers also enjoy having a little taste of home.
“We get to try a little bit of our country. If you want to try Peruvian food, Nelly’s is the place to come,” says Mariandine Huertas.
Nelly says she is grateful that the Ozarks community has embraced her food.
You can find Nelly’s food truck at the following locations throughout the week:
This fall, Nelly will move the truck to Springfield’s new food truck park on W. Sunshine.