This is the type of story Wanolitto just loves to write about – since the Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market started 11 years ago, one of our main missions was to help the little entrepreneur get started and help them succeed. This is especially true for the local homegrown. Six years ago August, Rikki Marohl, market manager, got a call from Jack Armstrong owner of little known 18th Ave Pasta wanting to know if it was too late to join the market for the last few weeks. Rikki took him under her wings and guided him thru the process of selling his product at the first farmers market. Jack later commented:
“I had no idea what I was doing, but we learned, thanks to the great support from Des Moines and other markets. Bottom line, we would not be where we are today without the local Farmers Markets and it is still one of my favorite aspects of running a business like ours. Being close to our customers and seeing their appreciation for what we do is incredibly fulfilling.”Jack Armstrong adds that “Des Moines is a special place for us as a company and me personally since I grew up right by Saltwater Park. I have spent all of my life close to Des Moines, and I currently live there.” They started 18th Avenue Pasta Company after Jack spent a few months in Amsterdam where he was introduced to a unique noodle bar. The restaurant married simple noodle dishes with an artful ambience. He returned home to Seattle inspired to create his own version of pasta that was both artful and delicious. Using an old pasta maker of his mother’s, Jack began to experiment. Jack and his family started 18th Ave Pasta in the basement of a little house in Burien they were renting and eventually outgrew that space and currently have a manufacturing site located in Tukwila. They arecurrently looking for a larger space. [caption id="attachment_59697" align="aligncenter" width="490"] First production site in house basement.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_59698" align="aligncenter" width="490"] The pasta makers – John and Jack Armstrong.[/caption] Their pasta is made using only the freshest ingredients, all natural vegetable purees, herbs and spices, to give the pasta an extraordinary flavor. The company has continued to grow and expand its market presence. They are featured in many local grocery stores and other fine retailers. Check their website for all the latest news and locations where you can purchase their great products. Now this is where the story really gets exciting. For the last few months Jack has been having negotiations with Fred Meyer about selling their line of pastas and just signed the deal and is in the process of shipping orders to all the Fred Meyers stores in Washington. He is also in talks with other national retailers and is hopeful they will be successful also.
THIS JUST IN – Jack told me on Saturday that QFC stores have also signed on and will be getting their first orders in the next few weeks…..I have used their products from the very beginning and have included them in some of my Wanolitto’s Cooking with Wine Recipes that you can pick up for free at the wine tasting booth at the market. Click below to download the recipes: