“Hello! Here to fill up your bicycle?”
I smiled, glad for the warm welcome for a bicyclist that had just made him jump a foot or two. The pressure washer reverberating off of greasy barrels had drowned out my attempts to catch his attention.
“I just love biodiesel. I had to say hello.” That may be an understatement. My passion for biodiesel is perhaps the closest I get to embracing the triumvirate of Americana: fast food, cars, and freedom. “I’m Morgan.”
“Scott. Hello. We just opened up here on Saturday. Let me show you around.”
Black Bear Biodiesel is the first place in the Green Mountain State to be selling B100, 100% biodiesel made from waste vegetable oil. I only know that as I’ve tried to find somewhere before, and failed. A re-purposed gas pump stands proudly painted green beneath a sculpturally-hewn wooden canopy. Across the gravel is a farm stand, right next to a miniature food truck. It’s a village of alternative business models.
Black Bear and friends now occupy a long-empty lot at the beginning of town, where the first gas station had stood from 1930 for fifty years. “This is the first place you see when you drive into Plainfield,” Scott says, “our hope is to put a new face on our small town here.” Above the retractable door is the new logo: a black bear wandering through a mountainous rainbow world. She’s offering you the chance to displace some petroleum, support a local business or two, form community at the gas station, and enjoy the smell of french fries as you open up your early-2000s Volkswagen on a country road.
“Never quite imagined getting into the family trade,” Scott tells us of his business partner. “Jim grew up with his family selling petroleum fuels. This was the only way he was ever going to do it. We have no intention of selling fossil fuels at all.”