Matchstick Market in Clinton, MA is a weekly farmers and artisans market that is hosted all year long. The mission, in their own words, is "to cultivate an empowering space that is family-friendly, supportive of our local economy, and gives farms, artists and entrepreneurs a platform to positively contribute to our community." The magic Matchstick crew seeks out vendors who prioritize sustainability, environmentalism, and ethics as part of their business models, so we were honored to be a part of the scene a few weeks ago. The November 11th installation of MM was called Salvaged Salvation, and included vintage dealers, artists specializing in upcycled goods, recycled apparel, and other awesome things.
It's so well organized and curated! I recommend everyone goes. Among the group of talented vendors were Jennifer Lee's Bakery, specializing in allergen-free goodies, and The Plant Deli, serving up incredible handmade vegan meats and cheeses. My only regret about Matchstick was not being a part of more of their Sunday markets. Our one visit was on a beautiful, sunny, but wicked cold day. Lots of devils were excited to see Bartlebyâs parked out front, and most people returned to the truck to take more food to go! That warm response brought me so much joy, that it honestly didnât seem so cold out after all. I canât wait for next season at Matchstick Market, because I will be sure to dedicate many more calendar days to attend.
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!
Taste of Cambridge has been filling bellies for sixteen years, and we were glad to make Bartleby’s part of its vibrant scene on July 10. Large community events like ToC are a great opportunity to introduce seitan to people who have never heard of it. One of the responsibilities of being in a niche market is education. Most people these days have heard of tofu and tempeh as meat-alternatives, but seitan is completely unknown to many folks in this country (though the hungry devils in the Buddhist communities of China, Japan, and Vietnam have been eating it for about 1500 years). I think seitan is delicious and it’s an amazing source of protein, so it was super fun to describe the cooking process to the friendly Cantabrigians and watching their eyes light up when they tried a sample (and then asked for another).
The event itself was big, bustling, and tons of fun. There were loads of veggie options available! I took a little break to snag a yummy green bean salad from Whole Heart Provisions, and some truly incredible vegan mac & cheese from Veggie Galaxy. There were lots of other vendors sharing veggie tastes, but I had to scurry back to my big blue and orange truck before I could try them all. Hope to see you next year, ToC!