Jeff Gardner, Pasta Gardner, Eugene, OR

Pasta Gardner

Feeder: Jeff Gardner, The Pasta Gardner

Established: 2014

What They Feed: whole grain pasta that is “grown local, milled local and made local” using wheat from Camas Country Mill

Seeders & Feeders They Support: Camas Country Mill

Where You Can Find Them:
Farmers Markets: Lane County Farmers Market (Saturday)
Retail: Camas Country Mill, 100 Mile Bakery, Long’s Meat Market, Newman’s Fish Market, The OG Corner Market, Kiva Grocery
Online: The Pasta Gardner Store

Their Story:

Jeff Gardner was born in Eugene and pursued his culinary training at the CIA Hyde Park in New York. Jeff’s externship took him to the Napa Valley of California where he worked at Bouchon Bistro and then Martini House. He came to realize that he had an affinity for Italian cuisine and decided to go straight to the source to learn more. He was accepted to ItalCook, a Slow Food sponsored culinary school on the Adriatic coast and stretched his trip for the 4 month program to almost 2 years by staging in various restaurants.

On returning to the US, he helped an ItalCook colleague to open BoccaLupo, an Italian restaurant in Atlanta. After three years there, Jeff returned home to the Pacific Northwest in 2013 to be with family.

Jeff’s work and travels had made him quite passionate about pasta and he began some research on Oregon mills to find local flour. A tip from Hummingbird Wholesalers led him to Camas Country Mill, not far from his hometown of Eugene.
And so began his relationship with Camas Country Mill, a 3rd generation family farm growing a variety of grains and using a stone mill to make whole grain flours. Jeff met with the staff and the head miller and took a few flour samples to see how they would work with his pasta. It turned into a long process of offering feedback and working to improve the flours, from making a finer grind, to changing the moisture content and adjusting the blend of the grains. He eventually found their red hard wheat flour, a higher protein flour, that worked very well for his applications.

Along the way, Jeff had picked up a pasta extruder from an importer named Emiliomiti at a food show. It was a big investment, but he managed to haggle the vendor to give him a deal on the machine if he bought it on the spot, which he did.

In May of 2014 the Pasta Gardner became an LLC and Jeff started selling his local, organic pasta at Eugene’s Lane County Farmers Market. Long’s Meat Market, whom he had a previous relationship with, put in a small fridge for his fresh pasta and he began selling there as well. Jeff’s first year involved a lot of markets and events and growing the business to have his pasta in a number of other Eugene groceries, including the store at Camas Country Mill, right where the flour comes from.

He’s now at the point where the business is ready to grow and expand and he needs a bigger pasta machine to increase production. Check out Jeff’s Kickstarter “The Oregon Pasta Project” and help his effort to bring more beautiful organic pasta to Oregon Eaters while supporting local farmers and the Pacific Northwest food system!

 

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