Meet the Makers: Jenny & Giacomo Vascotto, Pasta Makers

Meet the Makers: Jenny & Giacomo Vascotto, Pasta Makers

“The goal for us was really to merge Italian tradition with Vermont ingredients,” says Jenny Vascotto, co-owner of Trenchers Farmhouse.

Jenny met her husband and business partner Giacomo when both were in Italy. They had been working in Michelin-star restaurants around the world, Jenny recalls, and Giacomo “followed her home” to San Francisco.

There, the couple started to dream and think about how they could dive into the Slow Food and Farm to Table movements. In 2019, when Jenny’s mom retired to a beautiful 100 acre property in Lyndonville, Vermont, she invited them to join her in the east. They took the plunge.

“We basically in 2019,” Giacomo explains, “started really farming for a year, just to get a sense of the land and what we liked.”

“We fell in love with chickens that year,” Jenny inserts.

And what do you make with chickens? Why, pasta, of course.

“Our pastas are made with two ingredients,” Jenny continues. “Vermont wheat and our pasture-raised eggs. That's all that's in our traditional pastas… and there's a little bit of water. The chickens are really what led us to pasta. We loved raising them, and really, I have really strong food intolerances that I developed after working years in kitchens. So gluten, eggs, and dairy were really hard for me. So that's really why we started. It was kind of purely selfish. I wanted to eat things I couldn't eat anymore.”

“It's all about how you raise an animal and what they eat that really matters,” Giacomo adds, “and ultimately that is going to be passed down to the eggs and therefore the pasta that you're going to eat.”

Their goal became, he says, “something that tastes a lot more like traditional Italian fresh pasta.”

“Vermont is a perfect place for us to be doing this,” Giacomo adds. “Not only [because of] the Vermont brand, but the network of producers that we have access to that we can build partnerships with… and be able to scale and grow in a way that makes sense for us.” They source their wheat from NEK Grains in Waterford, and Nitty-Gritty Grains in Charlotte.

The couple launched their business in March 2020, right alongside the pandemic’s outbreak in the US, and did their first farmers’ market in May. To adapt, they rolled out a CSA and were producing 50 pounds of pasta at a run. Today, nearing four years later, Trenchers is producing 600 pounds of pasta a day, and they have jumped from one employee to eight in season, and from 50 chickens to 650. They also report that they are “tripling their volume every quarter.”

Sales go through farmers' markets (where there is often a line from opening to closing at their booth) in Burlington, Stowe, and Montpelier, and through a select group of retailers. That piece is set to grow quickly, as they have just secured six New England distributors. They dream—no surprise—of turning Trenchers into a national brand.

What makes their product different, Giacomo says, is that they are “a premium fresh pasta. The real difference in our pasta is its creamier mouth feel, this al dente texture that is always there. The filling that our pasta gives you, while also being easy to digest because we use a higher part of the outer germ, and we don't use any preservatives or bleach in our flour. Also, our chickens are fed certified organic feed.”

The result is a darker, richer wheat texture and color than the anemic color of dried, bleached pastas on supermarket aisles.

“Most dried pasta is heated above a certain temperature in the drying,” Giacomo explains. “So it's been essentially pasteurized… removing more nutrition.”

Trenchers’ pasta is never dried but is instead flash-frozen.

But let’s get back to the chickens, because it’s really all about the chickens.

“Our chickens have a two-year lifespan,” Jenny explains. “Whereas when you look at traditional factory farm chickens, they're four months. We don't push our chickens. We want them to be chickens, we want them to—it sounds ridiculous to say it like that—but we want them to peck and scratch and do what they do and to have their normal lifespan.”

“Happier chickens,” she adds, “have tastier eggs. So our ladies have a lovely two years, a bad five seconds, and then they're done.”

The philosophy also applies to their human employees (just not the bad five seconds part).

“We found that the best way to have the best employees,” Jenny says, “is to keep them and train and empower them. We don't have the luxury of living next to a big hub like Boston or New York. So the pool of people… it is naturally very small. But that doesn't mean that we cannot find hidden gems that we can refine with our experience. We are able to actually bring and train a very great crew.”

Over 70% of their employees have been with them for over two years.

“The chickens make it a little easier, to be honest,” Jenny jokes. “They [the employees] get attached to the chickens. It is true. It's really funny. They bring their kids...”

And what do they truly love about what they are doing?

“The thing that I get really jazzed up about,” Jenny says, “is the people who bring the pieces together with us. Whether it's our team with the chickens, our actual chickens, our wheat farmers. It's being able to create our own little community within one product and know that our product is supporting that community and then being put on a table and supporting your family in the same way.”

For Giacomo, “it is really just the farmers’ market. It is the worst day of the week and the best day of the week, because I hate getting up at 2:30 in the morning, but I really love to see the people that are buying our pasta. That's really the best feeling, to see them smile and people that are thanking you when they are the ones spending money. It is like, ‘I should be thanking you.’”

The Vermont Maker Project

Telling stories about makers across the state of Vermont. Stories and photos by StoryWorkz. Learn more at

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