Ciao Kickstarter, Welcome to The Oregon Pasta Project.
The Oregon Pasta Project is designed to get tasty and nutritious whole wheat pasta to more people seeking to eat healthier foods. By supporting Pasta Gardner’s Kickstarter campaign you too will help in this effort. Your Kickstarter donation will fund the purchase and immediate use of automated equipment. Pasta will be produced at four to five times the current rate of production which will allow for placement in more retail stores and for bulk production for schools, retirement homes and other institutions. One of the first measures of success for the campaign will be providing pasta at additional Farmers Markets throughout Lane County and then across the state. Pasta Gardner has already drawn the attention of the press: http://registerguard.com/rg/life/tastings/31739300-82/pasta-gardner-cooks-up-his-dream.html.csp. Pasta Gardner’s success will continued to be noticed and reported as it is a local story with broad interest and national application. http://blogs.registerguard.com/tastings/free-locavore-learning-opportunity-with-the-pasta-gardner/
Let's start with a free pasta recipe just published by our friends at Toby's.
Hi again, I’m Jeff Gardner also known as Pasta Gardner. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, I grew up learning that regional food was important and that the Willamette Valley had a wealth of it.
Off to college at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, where I received my formal training. I was introduced to a world of new foods. I graduated with an appetite for exploring the world of food and began working in California's Napa Valley.
Soon I wanted to focus on Italian cuisine and there was no better way than to go straight to Italy to do it! I was accepted into a Slow Food school that emphasized regional Italian cooking. It was going to be tough: drinking espresso every morning, cooking with regional Italian ingredients all day, socializing with Italians at night but someone had to do it and I was ready!
I picked up the Italian language while I was there, along with what seemed to be a common theme: “Use what you have in the area” If you are in a region next to the water, seafood is your specialty. For example, If you were in the hills, meat was typically your specialty. This is not to say that regions never shared specialties and typically each region was proud of its own specialties including wine and cheese.
When I came back to the states I said to myself, “Why can’t we do that here?” More importantly, why not here in Oregon where we have a bounty of locally grown ingredients? I found Camas Country Mill, a flour mill that grows wheat in Lane County, Oregon.
Together we worked closely on developing a high quality pasta made from stone ground, whole grain wheat. One year later I had a whole wheat pasta that had a great bite and was healthy. More importantly It didn’t taste like traditional whole wheat pasta that tends to be flat and grainy.
Our stone ground flour retains more of its natural fiber and B vitamins. This gives the flour more flavor and makes a healthier, tastier pasta. In commercial flour milling, the wheat berry is pancaked flat and separated into bran, germ, endosperm, and oil. Later, they are added back minus the oil to make a whole wheat flour. In our whole grain, stone milled flour, the wheat berry is ground and sifted, keeping the integrity of its original germ, bran, endosperm and oils, the most nutrient rich parts.
Our red wheat flour is single origin and all sourced from Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley. The whole grain pasta has a slight nutty and full-bodied flavor because it has retained all of its original nutrients, thus eliminating that "flat" taste. We researched and tested many times to develop a recipe that meets our high standards.
Give Pasta Gardner a try and taste the difference! We currently sell at the Lane County Farmers Market and local retail stores. This is where we need your help, Kickstarter. Help fund Pasta Gardner.
We want to expand and grow, and we need to buy a bigger piece of equipment.
At the moment we can produce 18 to 20 pounds an hour all hand cut. The larger machine will enable us to produce close to 100 pounds an hour, and we will then dedicate the older machine to gluten free production.
By helping support our Kickstarter campaign, you will help us support local farms like Camas Country Mill, Lonesome Whistle Farm, and Dunbar Farm. If you are not local, you can still help us serve a healthier pasta and join our pasta of the month! Grazie Mille, Thanks a ton!
Thank you for your support, and for sharing our project with your friends and family.
Please contact us with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Risks and challenges
Pasta Gardner was incorporated as an LLC in May of 2014. It was started by the desire to make a pasta using locally grown wheat. The challenge was to find a local farmer who was growing a high quality wheat and was willing to work with a chef. After a lot of flour and pasta had been exchanged, numerous tastings, some disappointing but more often promising trials, we knew which direction to go. From 2013 until production start up I perfected the mix for the pasta. All the effort, energy, research and time spent on this project had finally paid off. Some smaller obstacles arose, like finding an insurance carrier and needing an official scale and getting it certified by the state of Oregon (at the time I was using a common scale). These problems were resolved in short time but tested my patience in a non-culinary manner. I attended some small business classes at the local community college and several food service shows researching these topics. The solutions came as I adapted my culinary skills to business skills and success. Within a few days of visiting the Eugene Chamber of Commerce, I found a local insurance agent who could work with my financial constraints, and another business that specialized in scales and certifications. In conclusion, I know there will be challenges ahead, possibly with distribution and hiring employees but I will face them in the same positive, persistent manner.
~More Pasta Success Philosophy~
A chef/mentor once said to me, “If it's challenging it's worth completing.” I like the challenge of solving problems that arise. For example: delayed delivery of the new machine or obtaining new permits to sell in new markets or simply distribution issues. I will tackle them and find solutions just like always, the same way as when I was just starting up. The biggest challenge was at the very beginning in regards to milling the wheat to get the right consistency. Over a year of constantly testing different milled flours and sampling results, we had finally perfected it. I know there will be challenges ahead but I am ready to face them.
- (28 days)