By Terri Grouse
PHILADELPHIA – Mariposa Food Coop has formally announced a new partnership with Little Baby’s Ice Cream, a move that will bring fresh soft serve Ice Cream to West Philadelphia. The new construction project will link the Food Coop, in the Cedar Park section of West Philadelphia, and the Ice Cream company’s World Headquarters and manufacturing facility, located on the border of the East Kensington and Fishtown neighborhoods.
Mariposa, now settled into a new, larger facility at 4824 Baltimore Avenue, isn’t through renovating yet. This latest announcement, the first in their recently initiated “Manufacturer-Direct-to-Grocery” program, is centered on what will be known as the nation’s first “Ice Cream Pipeline”, the supply side of which will be located at Little Baby’s Ice Cream World Headquarters, 2311 Frankford Avenue [fig. 2, #1]. The pipeline’s planned route will include a necessary horizontal loop-d-loop [fig. 1, #2] near Chinatown, which will improve the ice cream’s overall texture, as well as a vegan quality control check in at Grindcore House Coffee shop in south Philadelphia [fig. 2, #3] and an altruistic trip underneath the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia [fig. 2, #4] before finally ending at Mariposa [fig. 2, #5].
Bull Gervasi, CEO and outspoken enfant terrible of the Philadelphia Food Coop scene, spoke to the press this morning from the floor of the Coop saying, “We’re always looking for ways to improve our array of offerings to the community, but we’re also cognizant of how we source those offerings. This new construction project will not only bring soft serve ice cream to Mariposa shoppers, but it will require zero fossil fuel emissions to get it here, which is groundbreaking.”
Lead Project Manager of the project Violet LeViot expounded on the eco-friendly design: “We wanted zero emissions, no excuses. So I reached out to Drexel University’s Engineering Department for help. I explained to them something I saw last year while visiting the Dr Bronner’s Soap manufacturing facility in Escondido, California. They fill all the bottles without machines using only the force of gravity. When ready for bottling, the liquid soap, positioned in tanks above the bottles on a conveyor belt, is fed through a series of tubes without any electricity whatsoever. We were fortunate to find an Ice Cream provider whose facility is located at a higher altitude than our grocery store.”
Drexel Engineers made short work of the problem. “We put the end of the tube located at Little Baby’s Ice Cream’s manufacturing facility above the end located at the Mariposa Food Coop,” explained Ross Meunstermont, the Drexel Post-Doctoral candidate in charge of the blueprints. “Being underground, it stays at an appropriate food-safe temperature. The curves in the trajectory of the pipeline not only were necessary for the partnership’s quality assurance measures down in south Philly, but they also help avoid underground Septa tunnels, the old Masonic Temple’s catacombs, and they actually serve to continue the churning process of the ice cream, ensuring it arrives appropriately light and fluffy, like a new baby bunny rabbit’s fur.”
Geography made routing underneath the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia easy, as was the decision for both Mariposa and Little Baby’s to allow the hospital to tap into the pipeline, allowing young patients at the hospital a little treat during their stay. Enthusiasm was high when the announcement went out over the hospital’s loudspeaker: “Excited? Oh come on what do you think?” one boy was quoted saying to his attending doctor.
“Wasabi” Pete Angevine, the Spicy Mustard-Covered Seed-Pod at Little Baby’s Ice Cream, is excited about the partnership and the benefit to C.H.O.P. “We’ve enjoyed a great relationship with Mariposa and we’re excited that both entities have decided to get in the zone, touch base with each other, and take it to a new level, a level which I would, I think rightly, characterize as: ‘next level’. This is Little Baby’s first foray into soft serve ice cream, which we haven’t offered previously due to its softness, and also we couldn’t be more pleased about not having to drive all the way over there all the time. It’s far.”
To accommodate everyone, two separate pipes will be used for Little Baby’s dairy-based and vegan soft serve ice creams, allowing for continual delivery of each product without all the sassy vegans getting all annoyed at everyone. While both pipes will travel the same route, only the pipe containing vegan ice cream will be opened for quality assurance purposes at Grindcore House, an all-vegan coffee shop in south Philadelphia. Dave Anthem, one of two owners explained: “We’re not interested in the other one.”
One pipe would reduce the cost of the project, but Jeffrey Ziga of Director of Public Relations at Little Baby’s Ice Cream explained, “we weren’t able to combine our dairy and vegan products successfully into one like Gianna’s Grille used to do. Their super secret proprietary ‘Quantum Casein’ technology is sadly lost to the ages. Our scientists have tried everything to replicate conditions in which our ingredients remain in dual “vegan “and “non-vegan” states of being until observed on a microscopic level, but it’s a slow process. We’re still maybe 5-10 years away from human trials.” In spite of the timetable, excitement is building. Tony “Pointless” Croasdale, Mariposa customer since the early 90’s familiar with Gianna’s famous fake dairy ingredients, was delighted to hear that such research was underway. “Bring It! Wall of Death the system which supports the vegan versus non-vegan binary!” he was quoted as saying, before hopping on a bicycle and riding away after a passing paddle of ducks.
The pipeline, expected to cost about $1.3 million trillion dollars, is slated to be complete by spring 2014. “Faster if our Kickstarter fund-raising campaign hits the mark,” said Violet LeViot. “As a means to fund construction projects of this magnitude, Kickstarter is so hot right now.”
Bull Gervasi added. “Everyone is pitching in for rewards. I’m personally donating all the Policy of 3 test presses lying around my basement; my brother Joseph of Exhumed Films is putting up his prized collection of Dario Argento’s used cigarette butts; and I’ve convinced entire Mariposa organization to promise to author and stage a musical theater adaptation of Sergei Eisenstein’s landmark silent film Battleship Potemkin. We’re even got permission to use the iconic Art Museum steps for that one scene. It’s all very exciting!” And everyone is indeed excited. “I stipulated that I get to put a Rocky reference in there somewhere,” said Jeffrey Ziga, “both to honor my Italian-American heritage and to symbolize that this whole project — this entire partnership — it just kicks major butt.”
The fund-raising drive ends on May 34th. Little Baby’s Ice Cream pints are currently available at Mariposa, as well as many other things.