From Streets to Tweets: Near East Feeds Couscous Curiosity and the Hungry in Seattle

Mar 16, 2011, 16:13 ET from Near East

SEATTLE, March 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- This spring, a new taste sensation will hit the streets of Seattle, courtesy of the Near East brand of couscous and other flavored side dishes. Near East is launching its first-ever mobile food truck – the Couscous Caravan – to deliver global flavors inspired by Seattle neighborhoods and local ingredients.


From March 22 through May 15, the Near East Couscous Caravan will make appearances at select retailers and weekend events around Seattle, and at downtown locations to serve up free couscous samples, recipes and coupons.

"We decided to launch the Near East Couscous Caravan in Seattle because we know the city is passionate about good food and would welcome our tasty twist to the food truck phenomenon sweeping the nation," said E.G. Fishburne, brand manager for Near East.

The calendar of Couscous Caravan sampling stops can be found online at or on Twitter @NearEastDish.

Tweet #CouscousCaravan for a Cause

Beyond feeding Seattle's couscous curiosity, Near East is working to fight hunger across the state of Washington through Twitter.

Now through May 15, Near East is asking people to tweet #CouscousCaravan – and for good cause. For every tweet @NearEastDish with #CouscousCaravan, Near East will donate a box of couscous (up to 10,000 total boxes) to Northwest Harvest, a statewide hunger relief agency.  

"Our goal is to donate up to 10,000 boxes of Near East Couscous to Northwest Harvest but we can't do it without Seattleites' support," Fishburne said. "We need the local community to rally together for this important cause and with a simple tweet, we can make a difference."

If Seattleites post photos of the Couscous Caravan to Twitter through May 15, Near East will double the donation to two boxes of couscous to Northwest Harvest for every photo post that includes @NearEastDish and #CouscousCaravan.

"One in seven households in our state struggle to put enough food on the table — the highest rate since the United States Department of Agriculture began recording this figure in 1995," said Shelley Rotondo, executive director of Northwest Harvest. "By sparing a minute to tweet, you can help deliver a meal that's desperately needed by a hungry family."

Facebook users can also help Near East fight hunger by posting pictures of the Couscous Caravan through May 15. First, users must "like" Near East Dish on Facebook, then post a photo of the Couscous Caravan and tag Near East Dish in it. Near East will donate two boxes of couscous to Northwest Harvest for each photo.

Global Flavors with a Local Twist

Along for the couscous ride this spring is the 2010 Northwest James Beard Award Winner Chef Jason Wilson of acclaimed restaurant Crush. Wilson is giving Near East Couscous a Seattle spin by creating several recipes inspired by local neighborhoods.  

His recipes also feature delicious local ingredients such as Washington state apples, Walla Walla onions and Pacific albacore tuna. Two of Chef Wilson's one-of-a-kind couscous creations will be featured onboard the Couscous Caravan at select sampling stops.

"The diverse neighborhoods of Seattle and the regional bounty inspire my cooking every day," said Chef Wilson. "Seattleites can utilize everything that the local farmers and growers offer to create a delicious couscous dish in a matter of minutes."

Chef Wilson will join the Near East Couscous Caravan at the Taste Washington! festival on March 27 to offer tips and tricks for creating restaurant-worthy couscous dishes at home.

Couscous History

With origins tracing back to Africa, couscous is a staple in many parts of the world, from Europe to Asia. Made from tiny granules of pasta, Near East Couscous cooks in just five minutes and is an easy way to make dinner feel like a destination.

Simply add to boiling water, let sit for five minutes, fluff with a fork, and the couscous is ready to be served. By adding lean meats and vegetables, couscous delivers a well-rounded meal.

About Near East

Founded in 1962, Near East is the leading brand of couscous and other specialty side dishes. With more than 30 different flavors and varieties of couscous, rice pilafs and other grain dishes, Near East products offer authentic tastes from around the world. Near East products are 100 percent natural, and most are certified Kosher. Near East products are available nationally in supermarkets and specialty food stores. For more information, visit

Media Contacts:

Denise Lauer, Near East


Ginger Werner, Zeno Group


SOURCE Near East