Cooking up Local Flavor with Help from the SBDC
After attending a culinary school in Italy and learning how to cook authentic Italian food, Jeff Gardner returned to his hometown of Eugene to create a pasta from locally-grown wheat.
Inspired by the regional foods of Italy, Jeff wanted to develop a regional pasta for the Willamette Valley. In 2014, he started working with Camas Country Mill and, after a year of testing different grinds of wheat, Jeff found a flour variety he liked.
He now makes six different shapes of pasta with five different varieties of wheat. Jeff produces about 100 pounds of pasta a week. He sells Pasta Gardner pasta in local stores and at the Lane County Farmers Market.
Jeff went to the SBDC before launching his business. Having also studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, he was an experienced chef. But Jeff didn’t know how to run a business. So he took the SBDC’s Business 101 class.
The SBDC helped him with a business plan, licensing, website, logo and more.
“I didn’t know anything really about business,” Jeff said. “It was invaluable, what they did.”