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Limited Pastabilities

Side Dishes: Small biz calls it quits

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For years, Kevin and Nancy DelMastro of Essex's Anything's Pastable have whipped up pasta by hand and sold it to local restaurants and retail stores. Now, with the costs of staples and shipping steadily increasing, the couple is closing the business and moving on to other things.

Kevin reports that the cost of flour has risen by 300 percent of late; cheese and eggs are up nearly 90 percent. To stay afloat "with those increases," he explains, "we would basically have to quadruple our sales volume or increase our prices by 50 to 80 percent." Their crab-and-shrimp, basil ricotta and roasted-butternut-squash ravioli may be tasty and gourmet, but bumping the price wouldn't fly, he admits. "Even at the current price point, there's resistance during the current economy. In people's minds, pasta is supposed to be a really cheap meal."

Chef Dan Rainville, of Shore Acres Inn and Restaurant in North Hero, stocked up on Anything's Pastable product when he heard the news. He bought enough to get him through the restaurant's summer season. For next year, he muses, "I guess I'll just look for the next small guy. I think it's worth it to keep it in Vermont."

For the DelMastros, it's on to other ventures. Nancy, who's been working another job all these years, will stick with that. Kevin is returning to an old employer, in plastics. Here's to you, Mr. Robinson!

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