SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – When Springfield resident Leah Grant left her Human Services management job last year, she had no idea that only months later she would have grown a following for her homemade, artisanal pasta.
Grant, a home care provider who homeschools her ten-year-old son, initially saw pasta making as a way to work on fine motor skills, coordination, and teamwork. After posting photos of her creations on personal social media pages, requests for orders followed, and Grant quickly recognized a niche to be filled.
No stranger to creating artisanal products – she formerly had a line of handmade soaps that she sold at local markets – Grant immersed herself in pasta. She joined online groups, watched videos, and asked a lot of questions of experienced pasta makers, working up to 14 hours a day to learn how best to adapt recipes and properly dry product. “I threw away a lot of flour!” she remarks. She researched and purchased pasta-making tools and dehydrators, and familiarized herself with Vermont cottage food laws to ensure all products met standards for consumer safety.
Although she is in talks to supply her pasta to several local stores, Grant remains dedicated to selling directly to consumers. “Markups in stores are so high that the food can become inaccessible,” she explains. “I want to be able to offer the community healthy food for a reasonable price.”
An advocate for quality food, Grant exclusively uses premium ingredients, including flour from King Arthur and Bob’s Red Mill, and locally sourced eggs. Customers can chose from plain, wheat, and flavored pasta (including Basic Garlic, Lemon Pepper, Spinach, Egg, and Roasted Red Pepper) in a variety of shapes. She is particularly proud of her gluten-free offerings, for which she receives a lot of interest. “Most commercial gluten-free pasta is tasteless – it needs a lot of sauce and breaks down so easily, and it can be expensive,” says Grant. “People have been so thankful that my pasta is not only flavorful but is affordable. And I’m happy to be able to provide something that many people wouldn’t typically be able to access.”
As for the name Imperfect Pasta? “As much as I try to get it uniform, there’s no way I’m going to get it to look like boxed pasta, or for the gluten-free pasta to not crack a little bit,” Grant explains. “That’s just the nature of homemade pasta.” One culprit in particular is variable humidity, which can cause differences in appearance in the same recipe made on different days.
Pasta orders can be placed through the Imperfect Pasta Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ImperfectPastaLLC. Orders are typically ready to be picked up or delivered within 2-24 hours, depending on availability. An ecommerce website is in the works, and Grant will be appearing at local markets in the spring. For more information about Imperfect Pasta, please contact Leah Grant at firstname.lastname@example.org.