The Feeder: Pastaworks
What They Feed: A European style market in Portland featuring house made pastas, extraordinary cheeses, carefully-sourced dry goods, local produce and a unique selection of wine, vermouth & beer.
Seeders They Support: Ayers Creek Farm, Vibrant Valley Farm, Groundwork Organics, Freddy Guys Hazelnuts, Eat Oregon First, Viridian Farms
Feeders They Support: Jacobsen Salt Co, Fino in Fondo, Olympia Provisions, Oregon Olive Mill, Woodblock Chocolate, The Commons Brewery
Pastaworks was founded by Peter de Garmo and Don Oman, who had a shared passion for food and wine. They became inspired to open a European-style shop and sell fresh, handmade pastas, wine and cheese. When the doors to the small, one-room store opened in 1983 there wasn’t a lot going on in the SE Hawthorne neighborhood. Eventually other businesses moved in and Pastaworks has continued to grow and evolve with the neighborhood over the past the past 32 years.
The de Garmo family has deep connections to Italy and Spain and have spent much time in both countries over the years developing relationships with winemakers and food purveyors. However many will be surprised to learn the family is not Italian at all. Peter’s grandfather Harry, was actually originally from Michigan, but moved to Vienna to become an opera singer and changed his last name to de Garmo.
As advocates of small producers and quality products, Peter and Don became acquainted with Carlo Petrini’s Slow Food organization in Italy, which started in 1989. They saw a clear need to bring something like it to the United States and started the first Slow Food chapter outside of Europe in Portland in 1991. In 2003, Peter also joined the Slow Food USA board of directors. From the beginning, Peter and Don were mentors and an inspiration to the good, clean, fair food movement in Oregon and beyond.
Don Oman left Pastaworks in the early 00’s to open Casa Bruno, a wine distributorship, and Peter retired in 2013. Peter’s son Kevin now runs the business with his wife Kaie Wellman. They have two locations: the original on SE Hawthorne and City Market on NW 21st, which they partnered with Newman’s Fish Market to open in 1991. The Hawthorne location looks much different from when it first opened: Nodoguro (previously Evoe) is now in the original space that Pastaworks began in, and the market has expanded next door to where Powell’s Books once was. The store now includes a fresh and cured meats, a unique selection of imported and domestic wine and cheeses, local produce and other carefully-sourced specialty goods. They try to source everything direct from farmers and purveyors, whether it be preserves from Ayers Creek Farm in the Willamette Valley or La Stoppa Winery in Italy. Pastaworks’ passion lies in creating and maintaining those relationships.
“That’s where our passion lies, in those relationships”
“The dirty little secret that not many people in Portland know is that the de Garmo family isn’t actually Italian”