New Jake’s Burgers at Sterino Farms has berries that go from field to shake
From field to shake, Jake’s Burgers at Sterino Farms is about as fresh a berry milkshake experience as a diner can find in Pierce County.
The burger truck opened May 22 at the Sterino Farms Puyallup farm stand at 6116 52nd St. E.
It’s open for lunch and dinner every day except Wednesdays.
The burger truck offers a succinct menu of burgers and fries, and a list of milkshakes that make great use of the farm’s broad berry stock, as well as other regional berries from local farmers. And pie. They also serve pie-by-the-slice.
Beyond berries, the farm’s other produce will serve as ingredients on the truck’s burgers.
I don’t know that any local restaurant could ever have as fresh of produce as Jake’s Burgers will have.
“That lettuce we cut this morning can be on your burger at lunchtime,” said owner Jake Sterino, a fourth-generation Sterino to farm the land in and around the Puyallup Valley. His great grandfather started the family’s farming legacy 100 years ago with a 15-acre patch of land in Fife. After I-5 bisected the property, the family expanded into Puyallup.
Jake’s late father Jack Sterino grew the farm’s footprint even more, with the family eventually farming on more than 100 acres. Today, members of the Sterino family operate the farmland, and its companion farmstand 10 months out of the year in the Puyallup valley. They close every January and February.
The food truck is their first time venturing into making food for the public with produce and berries from the Sterino farm.
The tomatoes grown on the farm will be used on the burgers, as are the onions from other farms that they sell at their produce stand. Right now, they’re using Vidalia sweets. When Walla Walla sweets come into season, they’ll switch to those. Sterino’s is broadly known for its own lettuce, which will hit its peak season soon. As Sterino noted, it’ll be plucked from the field in the morning and served on the truck by lunchtime.
FRESH BERRY SHAKES AT JAKE’S BURGER
The farm’s famous berries anchor the shake menu. “We raise golden raspberries, tayberries, which is a raspberry-blackberry mix, and gooseberries, black and red currants,” explained Sterino. For a more complete list, visit here.
“We wanted to take all our berries and make milkshakes with it. We found this great ice cream, Edaleen’s, and they have a soft serve base that is the best shake mix. We’re incorporating all the good products from our farm into the food truck and making good use out of our farm’s berries,” he said. Edaleen Dairy is in Lynden, just north of Bellingham.
Right now, Sterino said they’re using frozen berry stock to make the shakes at Jake’s. Whatever berries the farm does not sell or ship during berry season, Sterino’s freezes and sells at their farm stand.
Berry season is about to get underway here. By mid-June, the first of the Sterino berries to ripen will be the tayberries. Next come raspberries and then the blackberries. Jake said, “You’ll want to be around for the obsidians (blackberries). They’re almost like a marionberry, they’re so good.”
Red, white and black currants and gooseberries will follow.
Watch the truck’s shake menu for fresh-berry shakes and other fruit flavors featuring locally grown fruit.
If they don’t grow a berry, they know where to find it.
The Sterino family has developed relationships with a number of local farms, including Remlinger Farms. They sell the Remlinger pie-by-the-slice on the Jake’s truck. Sterino’s also partners with cherry farms in Eastern Washington to bring in cherries.
For years, I’ve visited Sterino’s Farm to enjoy not just the produce, but the food truck scene. The truck Jake’s Burgers operates out of was originally owned by X Group Restaurants, which I visited in 2014 for one of its first launch events at Sterino Farms. I also wrote about the Frying Dutchman at Sterino Farms all the way back in 2015. The Fisher Scone truck also is a regular at Sterino Farms.
With the opening of Jake’s Burgers, will other food trucks continue to serve? You bet, Sterino said. The Fisher Scone truck will continue visiting. When Jake’s Burgers is closed on Wednesdays, the Frying Dutchman will continue to serve every Wednesday.
FROM FIELD TO A RESTAURANT ON WHEELS
The Sterino and Xitco families have a friendship that dates back to when Jake Sterino and John Xitco and their siblings grew up together. Jake Sterino credits John Xitco as his food truck mentor. Xitco sold Sterino the old X Group catering truck to help him get started. Joel Mertens, formerly of X Group, helped develop the burger recipe. Xitco connected Sterino with Tri City Meats for their fresh burger patties. Sterino settled on a fresh patty, the 5-1 size (⅕ of a pound, or about 3.2 ounces). Restaurants throughout the region buy those patties from Tri City Meats.
The garlic-walloped burger seasoning, in case you’re curious, comes from the Santa Maria region in California, famous for its Santa Maria style tri tip barbecue. Sterino uses Susie Q’s Santa Maria seasoning on all his burgers. I appreciated that the seasoning also coated the hand-cut tomatoes, creating a much better tomato experience during the off season when tomatoes are usually pretty lackluster.
A toasted Franz brioche bun anchors the burgers. American cheese offers plenty of goo. Surrounding the patty on the Jake’s Deluxe were double slices of tomatoes on bottom and sweet onions on top, with three puckery pickle slices and a swipe of farm sauce, which is basically a gussied up special sauce ($5.98, with cheese). The result was alternating bites of cool crunch and fatty goo on that Jake’s Deluxe. Grab extra napkins.
The Jack burger comes with everything on the Jake’s Deluxe, but with the addition of lettuce and thick-sliced bacon ($7.98).
Skins-on fries were fantastically hot and well seasoned ($2.98). The portion size easily feeds two.
The rest of the menu includes an original burger with just pickles and farm sauce ($3.98), a three-piece chicken strips and fries ($9.98), a loaded beef hot dog ($2.98), Remlinger pie by-the-slice ($4.98) and those delicious berry 16-ounce shakes ($4.98). Beyond the seasonal berry shakes, there’s also a banana shake made with a whole banana, a chocolate shake, strawberry and vanilla.
Of all the add-on sauces you can sample (25 cents each), do order the Boom Boom sauce, which comes with a tweak of heat. There’s also a barbecue fry sauce, ranch, tartar, barbecue or the truck’s original farm sauce.
JAKE’S BURGERS AT STERINO FARMS
Where: Sterino Farms, 6116 52nd St. E., Puyallup; 253-922-8945