As a young man, when my dad went backpacking with his best friend, they were not concerned with cutting ounces. Quite the opposite. They carried 60 lb. packs filled with steak, lobster and corn on the cob into the backcountry.
As crazy as it sounds, Dad was onto something. Food just tastes better in the outdoors.
Fireside Provisions gives our tastebuds a reason to celebrate, making it easy to prepare a delicious feast anywhere from the campground to the backcountry.
How does it work? Just choose your menu, select your group size, then receive ingredients, recipes and checklists right to your door!
Founder Kip Clifton has inspired me to think beyond the dehydrated spaghetti. His passions for food, family and the outdoors are mixed into every meal. I’m proud to partner with Fireside Provisions on our Havasupai backpacking trip this October to create a culinary experience for Shoestring Warriors.
Check out our in-depth interview with Kip below, then head over to Fireside Provisions before planning the menu for your next adventure!
Tell us a little about yourself!
I spent my childhood on a horse farm in Lexington, so my default was to be outside, exploring, helping with the livestock, and so on. I used to head out every day to build forts and tree houses and set booby traps. It was all pretty idyllic. After college, I had a couple of years working on small development enterprise in Ghana through the Peace Corps. After I moved back, I went to business school and then got a job working for a bank in the Bay Area. I’ve always wanted to do something with the outdoors, but just needed a stint in finance to make that career change a reality.
What inspired you to start Fireside Provisions?
We’ve always liked to camp as a family—my wife just had a baby and we’re also the guardian of two teenage boys from Ghana—and we wanted the kids to get out and see California. But figuring out our meals was such a pain! And most of the time, we’d forget the utensils. We knew there had to be a better way and decided to try and make something for people who enjoy amazing food but know how hard it can be to organize camp trips.
What do you love about partnering with independent producers to source the best ingredients?
The best part is getting to know the people behind the product. All of our suppliers are clearly in this business because of their passion for food, and that’s what also sets them apart. We love getting to work with people who make food from scratch and know their stuff. No sales reps needed.
What is your favorite meal to prepare outdoors?
Fireside’s maple-mustard pork chops, hands down. And if there’s fresh salmon around, I like to get a couple of cedar planks, soak them in the river, and smoke the fish by the campsite. Ideally you’d have a grill with a cover but if not, you can make do with some foil.
What does a typical day in the FP kitchen look like?
After I get out of my office hammock, ha, I’ll check on our orders and work with our team on fulfillment. This usually involves running around our warehouse with headsets on, filling various bags with various things, and making sure the portions are correct before weighing, boxing, and shipping. There’s always music playing and, obviously, plenty of snacks around.
Do you have any advice for people who want to be more adventurous with their meals in the outdoors?
Just do it. I mean, don’t take a pound of shrimp and put it on top of your pack where the sun’s going to get at it. Put some ice around it and you could eat it on the first night. You’d be amazed what you can get away with. One time, we packed a bunch of lobster tails and figured out an ad hoc marinade to soak them in for a few hours before grilling them over the fire. It took awhile and it was pretty messy, but they were delicious.
The perfect s’more:
All s’mores styles have their place in the world. I guess I’m a classic s’mores guy if I had to commit to one way. That said, I always feel a little gnarly after eating s’mores. Maybe it’s the marshmallow. Maybe we lose the special enzyme dedicated to breaking down marshmallows that all kids naturally seem to have. Who knows? I guess this is a bit of an existential question for me.
Photos © 2015 Fireside Provisions
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