The Rapidian

Collaboration at its freshest

No fronts, no frills. Join CVLT Pizza, Bartertown Diner and Green Wagon Farm for a collaborative on-farm feast Friday, August 14.
Area Chefs have Lunch at the Farm

Area Chefs have Lunch at the Farm /Micah Sienkowski

EVENT INFO

6 - 10 PM

A plant-centric, farm-roasted affair. 
FIRE. MUSIC. PIZZA. LEFTOVERS.

$20/ticket
$50/family of 4 + $10 each additional member
$10/kids under 12; kids under 2, free

BUY TICKETS.
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The Green Wagon Veggie Pizza at Cvlt Pizza, April 2013

The Green Wagon Veggie Pizza at Cvlt Pizza, April 2013 /Cvlt Pizza

Raise Your Green Garlic High.

Raise Your Green Garlic High. /Heather Anderson

Cvlt Pizza and Green Wagon Farm got the first taste of each other’s work in April 2013, not long after the Cvlt Pizza first opened. It was spring, the farming season had just begun, and Green Wagon still had loads of scape pesto, dried basil, and frozen eggplant from the previous year. 

Therein: the debut of the Green Wagon Veggie Pizza on the parlor’s first-ever menu, which the Green Wagon staff enjoyed one night along with some beer from the wedding of farmers Heather and Chad that winter. The beer was brewed by fellow farmer, Devon Cunningham, who also happened to be a friend of Ryan Cappelletti--the head of the pizza parlor and the original manager of Bartertown Diner.

Back then, Devon was helping Ryan install a kombucha kegerator, a project which eventually led to Devon's employment at Direct Trade Coffee Club, where he now works with nitro-coffee. This friend-of-a friend connection was how Green Wagon’s produce first appeared on Grand Rapids’ Jefferson Avenue, and how so many small, vibrant ventures have begun in this local food economy.

Green Wagon often jokes that there’s no way farmers can afford to eat at farm-to-table restaurants, but this is the very reality that Bartertown and Cvlt wish to abolish. Together, what Bartertown Diner, Cvlt Pizza, and Green Wagon Farm have shown is that there are straightforward, inexpensive solutions to feeding people: instead of giving people what they think they want, they’ve taught people what they really need, turning the "customer is always right" axiom on it's head.

The realities of running a restaurant or a vegetable farm include squinty-eye opening shifts, cold, muddy mornings, hot, greasy kitchens, the undersides of tractors, and a good deal of idealism and passionate, late nights trying to keep-up. Green Wagon, Bartertown, and Cvlt are joined in their promise to make store-fronts without fronts, to farm honestly and faithfully, and to give all employees due respect and real wages.

They've logged so many hours fighting for this, juggling two a.m. pizzas and harvesting by headlight, and they’re better for it. This is what beginnings are made of; this is what’s necessary. As small businesses of young people in a climate under unprecedented change, work is a learning process and limits are constantly being tested--what’s realistic and what’s palatable, what’s accessible and what’s worth it. 

These three businesses have spent half their short lifetimes together, and have since learned to be patient with each other, or at least, transparent. Out of a sudden influx of carrots and odd-numbers of green beans, they’ve built a cuisine based on the particularities of the season—the excess, the leftovers. 

Their relationship is young; it’s messy and experimental, but it’s also rich and textured and fresh. The farmers and cooks and chefs give thanks for the places they’ve landed, within faithful communities that keep them busy, inspired, and fed.

They invite you to join them in celebration of the growing season and the collaboration that brings Grand Rapids good, fair food on August 14, 2015 at 4960 Quiggle Ave in Ada, Michigan. Food will be farm-roasted and seared to perfection, with options for vegans, vegetarians, and the gluten-averse. Find tickets at CVLT, Bartertown, or at the Green Wagon booth at Fulton St. Market on Saturday. Or online, here. Direct questions to [email protected]

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