Mobile Eats: Equal Exchange & Bumps in the Road

7, Sep, 2012 Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

The Equal Exchange Free Range Café, the trike that has served locally-roasted, organic and fairly traded coffee on the Greenway for two seasons, has ended their season early. We talked with café developer Meghan Hubbs about why.

Equal Exchange Free Range Cafe

Equal Exchange Free Range Cafe

How has the 2012 season been for the trike at Dewey Square and at the Greenway Open Market?

This past year has been great. We pedaled through a slow start this spring while we combed the city side in search of the best riders/coffee slingers we could find, and met some amazing new faces along the way.  With its highly engaged and caffeinated community, its thriving mobile vending culture and the gorgeous farmers market backdrop, Dewey Square has felt like home to us. You, our supporters, don’t just drink our coffee you enrich our work, as well as the lives of small scale farmers around the globe. Tapping into your energy and community- wherever we parked- was the greatest reward of our café-on-three-wheels.

Why do you have to stop operating for the season?

The three trike-baristas are off on new adventures and worthy pursuits – Elvis to grad school at Babson, Jordan returns to BU to start his junior year, and Emily is joining the Peace Corp in Nicaragua. And as for me, the trike wrangler, I will be disappearing on maternity leave too soon to find replacements.

How are the trike baristas different than those at the café?

We start with the foundation of a good barista- amazing customer service skills, passion for Equal Exchange’s mission and coffee. In addition to that we need someone who can ride a bike around that can weigh up to 450lbs, deal with unexpected issues like weather or popped tires and then manage to run a small coffee operation independently with a smile. Instead of having a team of other baristas to get support, our riders get inspired by our customers and their interactions.

What has been unique about operating on the Greenway compared to elsewhere in the City?

The Greenway has really built a culture of community right in the heart of the city. By being set up on the Greenway, we get to serve a wide range of people from the one off tourist to our die hard daily commuters who work in the area. Between the other mobile vendors with their delicious varieties of food offerings to the local fresh Farmers Market and artists exhibits there is something for everyone. There is a real commitment by the Greenway to support its vendors as well as provide opportunities for educational and cultural activities to all Bostonians.

Any chance we’ll see the trike for special events on the Greenway this fall or winter?

We’ll be at the Boston Local Food Fest on the Greenway on Sunday, October 7th. And there may be other opportunities, as well.