What better way to celebrate our 100th blog post than a quick walk through memory lane? It starts with our very first post, “It’s in the Pasta…” dated December 8th, 2008, immediately following a lay-off that hit us off guard just days before Rachel’s big 25th birthday celebration. Lucky for us, we had a plan. Just moments after our lay-off, we headed straight to Dunkies (am I becoming a Bostonian or what?!) and mapped out a plan. After re-reading our first post, it’s clear that our plan has certainly taken a different path, but the main idea is there, and a year and a half later we’re still at it! Since we wrote our first post, we learned a lot about the meaning of organic, and how most small farms in MA have been farming using organic practices for decades, but cannot afford the massive costs associated with obtaining the “certified organic” label from the USDA. So we stuck with supporting the small local farms– Stillman, Charlton Orchards, Rise & Shine, Brookwood, and Allandale Farms– to supply us over the last 2 seasons and we couldn’t be happier with the quality of their produce. You’ll also notice in our first post that we stress that Nella will be “authentically Italian.” Yes, both of us spent semesters abroad and have the utmost respect for authentic Italian cooking, but our recipes are now based on quality seasonal, local ingredients, some Italian inspired and some not. Remember these Southwestern Black Bean Raviolis? Definitely not Italian, but certainly delicious.
Until recently, the “local” aspect of our pasta was based on the seasonal ingredients we acquired from local farms to fill our raviolis and flavor our pasta dough– roasted beets, red peppers, garlic, chives, basil, corn, zucchini, eggplant… we’ve just about tried it all. But starting this year, we’re taking local one step farther. It’s only fitting that our main ingredient, wheat, be locally sourced. After meeting the E’toile family at the Boston Local Foods Mini Tradeshow, we found our star ingredient close to home. One roadtrip to Four Star Farms in Northfield, MA later, we were in the kitchen testing our new formula for a 100% local pasta: flour from Four Star Farms, Eggs from Charlton Orchards, and even our salt from Maine.
The past year and a half has certainly been a crazy ride, but we couldn’t be happier with where we have taken the business. We’re now half-way through our second season of farmers markets at both Lexington and Hingham with a wonderful group of regulars we look forward to seeing week after week. We started selling our pasta salads in not one, not two, but three Boston-based retail locations (City Feed & Supply, Equal Exchange Cafe and Marshall’s Fenway Stand). And better yet, we’re thrilled for the month ahead. Tomorrow afternoon we will be serving our first batch of local wheat linguine at the ALL Local Dinner hosted by HGTV’s Garden Girl, Patti Moreno. Next weekend we will partake in the End of Summer Classic Hingham Road Race for the second year in a row with a pasta salad for all 500 runners. In October, we’ll have a well- stocked stand filled with autumn pasta salads and hearty pestos at the first Boston Local Trade Show. Oh, and did we mention we re-designed our logo and packaging? We’re a bit sleep deprived, always covered in flour and ok, a teeny bit overwhelmed, but you know what? Keep it comin’, we can handle it! We can’t wait for the upcoming fall season and all the amazing events ahead. Thanks to all our customers, fans and readers for helping us get to this point, we truly appreciate your support.