When the temperature rises in the summertime and the humidity levels skyrocket, I rarely want to “cook” or eat much of anything. Many times I have a hankering for a cool tossed salad topped with grilled chicken, steak or even shrimp. I also find this is the perfect time of year for pasta with pesto! Normally I make my own, but as a busy Mom of two, there are times when i would like to just cook some pasta and pull some pesto out of my frig to top the pasta! What is my favorite ready made pesto? Rhode Island’s own, BESTO PESTO! Recently the ladies of Besto Pesto, Barbara Simon-Olson and Michele Kozloski joined me in the studio to talk about and eat some pesto and to discuss entrepreneurship. Their business was launched in the Spring of 2007. Michele was farming at Urban Edge Farm in Cranston wondering what to do with her organic basil that was thriving in the hot summertime Rhode Island sun. She soon met Barbara who was looking for something new to do after retiring from teaching. Barbara just happened to have a fantastic pesto recipe that she would make for dinner parties and backyard cook-outs. Their partnership seemed a natural fit; so with much desire, but not much “start-up” business experience, the ladies went out with their Pesto looking for a commercial kitchen to start concocting and packaging. They found a great home at the Dartmouth Grange, a certified commercial kitchen in Dartmouth Massachusetts.
A friend created the label, they found the right size container, packed some up and started selling at a couple of Rhode Island Farmer’s Markets. The pesto became so popular at the markets they decided to start peddling it to some area grocery stores! Since Besto Pesto is made with organic garlic and basil and other all-natural ingredients, it was a perfect fit for local stores such as Whole Foods and East Side Market.
Their Lemon Pesto has a refreshing zing to it with a wonderful smell of freshly picked basil. Besto Pesto is terrific enjoyed simply: passed around a table in a bowl to spoon on your favorite pasta. For a wonderful meal, I add grilled chicken to top off the dish. With tomatoes coming into season now, the pesto is also superb drizzled on some slices of crusty french bread that have been topped with slices of fresh mozzarella and tomato. Mmmmmmmm……..
Michele is excited to announce the beginning of a new farm venture, Zephyr Farm located in Cranston, RI. The farm will be offering vegetable shares for the 2008 season along with farm fresh egg shares and flower shares. Vegetables including the Basil, are grown without any synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.