On a beautifully sunny October Saturday, we got to be a part of the Central Square Food Truck Festival in Cambridge. There were over thirty local food trucks stretched along Sidney Street by University Park, and the space was full of happy, hungry folks. Our line of customers was non-stop, and lots of our regular devils were happy to come find us.
We hit one hiccup during the event, when one of our fryers decided to misbehave―we had to make an impromptu shut-down for about an hour. My staff are wonderful, knowledgeable and hardworking… and they definitely know how to roll with the punches. Thanks to their cool heads, we switched to the back-up fryer for a bit, and were able to open our window back up to feed more people.
All in all, the it was a fun day, and I was so excited to be in Cambridge and participating with New England Open Markets and their bustling Central Square Food Truck Festival.
On the last day of September, we took part in the Vegan Maker Collective. This event was a rollercoaster! We experienced the bad, the ugly, and the good.
The Bad: Our beloved truck had a generator issue the day before the Collective, and we weren't sure if it could be fixed in time to make the journey out to Worcester. It was fixed, thanks to the handy work of Al Danley and his team at the Food Truck Builders Group, but we had to postpone our departure slightly. We arrived at the New Tradition Event space about a half hour late.
The Ugly: I usually staff the truck with three people (including me) so that we will be prepared for anything. Unfortunately, one of my scheduled team members fell ill and called out sick last minute. I reached out to all my other staff, friends, family, and the network of makers at the event. To my dismay, there was no one available to lend a hand. It was just me, Amanda, and a line of fifty hungry devils (and growing!) when we opened for service.
The Amazing, Amazing Good: Abby was about the tenth person in line for seitan, and when she finished ordering, she introduced herself to me. Abby is the daughter of Tamara, organizer of the Vegan Maker Collective. Abby graciously and generously offered to join the Bartleby's team, and spent the next three hours taking orders non-stop while Amanda and I prepared and cooked the food. It was a miracle.
We not only survived the day, but thrived. Abby, Al and the Food Truck Builders Group, and all the smiling, hungry attendees at the Collective turned this stressful day into an absolutely amazing experience. The next Vegan Maker Collective is in December 2nd (the Holiday Edition!), and we know nothing will stop us from getting there. Can't wait!
The 20th Annual Pet Rock Festival was a true Sunday Funday. There was live music throughout the day, and every shape and size of dog running around with their families at the event location in Grafton, MA. Bartleby’s truck was set up in the food court section―which was entirely vegan! There were so many food vendors there, and every single one showcased something unique and incredible. I was able to try food from Grubby’s, The Vegan Nest Cafe, Jennifer Lee’s Bakery, and Like No Udder (ice cream!). All the eats were absolutely delicious and I was honored to be part of such a stellar line-up. The pups also seemed pretty happy to be hanging around outside as their owners milled about the different booths, picnicked, and enjoyed the live music. On top of creating all those good event vibes, Pet Rock Fest gives its proceeds to worthy animal-related charities that support a variety of causes, from shelters, to law reform, to farm animal sanctuaries. We were proud to be supporting an organization that does so much good.
I am excited to be back in the Worcester area on September 30th for the Vegan Maker Collective. Hope to see you there!
Earlier this month, we served at the Boston GreenFest, a three-day event with a goal of educating and empowering people to create a more sustainable, healthier world. We were slinging our signature seitan there, alongside the many other awesome vendors in the Food Truck Emporium.
You may be familiar with Bartleby’s three-part mission: to empower people to do good for themselves, the animals, and the planet―one meal at a time. While at GreenFest, we had some time to reflect upon that planet piece of our mission and make estimates on our actual impact on the environment since we began operation in April. And by “we,” I mean Evan Kodra, our Co-Founder, resident smartypants, data expert, and climate change scholar.
Using the references noted below, we can present the following calculations:
TLDR: In four months of operation, Bartleby’s Seitan Stand saved more than 500,000 gallons of water, saved about 7,600 pounds of CO2, and used approximately 58% less land as compared to a food truck or restaurant selling the equivalent volume of chicken. [Ed: We ran these numbers at the end of July, so suffice it to say we’ve saved more chickens and more land since then.]
There’s another part of our business that impacts the environment, and that’s the materials we’ve chosen for packaging. Everything we use is 100% biodegradable, recyclable, or compostable (depending on the item). While we can't control where our sandwich boxes and fry boats land after they leave the truck. we feel good that we're sending planet-friendly packaging out into the streets, rather than versions made with plastics or styrofoam.
I love taking my parents out to eat whenever they come up from Florida to see me. During their last visit at beginning of July, we took an entirely vegan food tour. For this sweet couple, who only recently learned how to pronounce “vegan” correctly, it was quite the experience. They had questions for each of the restaurants and shops we visited. “Wait, there’s no butter? What about eggs? What about…” They just couldn’t believe that all the food we tried was made without any animals being involved!
Their last day in town was also a special service day for Bartleby’s. I had been hired to cater a birthday party, and decided to put my parents to work. They pulled on official Bartleby’s hats and shirts, joined me for grocery shopping, did prep work at the Food Revolution commissary, and helped me serve partygoers on site. My dad gravitated toward the fryer, and my mom assembled the sandwiches. All in all, the Kirkpatricks make a good team! I was really happy my parents could be a part of my food truck experience, and I’m grateful for such a supportive family.
Thanks to all these amazing establishments! You can see some of delicious things we ate in our “Food tour!” Instagram Story.