Farmers Markets Are Small Business Incubators

As many small business owners will tell you, starting your own business isn’t for the faint of heart. It requires relentless passion, long hours, and the unwavering belief that what you’re offering is worth not only your own investment, but a collective one. In today’s world, it might seem like the only way to make a splash as an entrepreneur is to get a viral video, woo an angel investor, or get lucky enough to pitch your product on national television. However, for Boulder’s natural food industry, the farmers market has proven to be a place where emerging food businesses can get their foot in the door, especially through our Wednesday-evening market in Boulder. As we prepare to bring back our weekday market next week, here are two inspirational vendors who have leveraged the farmers market to create successful businesses.

Juan Ignacio Stewart of Frescos Naturales and Green Belly

In 2014, Stewart started Green Belly, a line of Guatemalan-inspired hot sauces based on his mother’s recipes, and began selling them at the Boulder Farmers Market. Like many food business entrepreneurs, he started with a strong product and an idea, and learned the in-and-outs of business ownership along the way. Today, customers continue to flock to Green Belly’s stand at the Boulder Farmers Market to sample classic and flavorful hot sauces, many of which can be found at local businesses and restaurants throughout the area.

Stewart didn’t stop there – instead, his at-home experiments turned into a new business venture. Inspired by the natural fruit drinks he enjoyed while living in Latin America, Frescos Naturales packs real fruit and plant flavors into easily sippable, refreshing, and good-for-you non-alcoholic beverages. The product became so popular that Stewart and Frescos Naturales ended up on Shark Tank, the popular television program that brings entrepreneurs to a national stage to pitch their products, and now you can find Frescos Naturales at grocery stores throughout Colorado.

Claudia Bouvier and Ted Steen of Pastificio Boulder

Pastificio Boulder is founded by the idea that better grains make for the best pasta. Starting with locally-grown, heirloom wheat, Pastificio Boulder mills their grains in-house to create super smooth, easily digestible, and flavorfully rich dry pasta. For the uninitiated, comparing Pastificio pasta to most modernly-available pasta is like comparing a homemade sourdough loaf to white sandwich bread. The two simply cannot be compared.

Pastificio Boulder launched their business at the Boulder Farmers Market and quickly amassed a following. Their products blend ingredients sourced from market vendors to create an innately local product that has mass appeal, which allowed them to quickly scale into wholesale. You can now find Pastificio Boulder’s craft pasta at Whole Foods locations throughout the region, and while they may not be at the Boulder Farmers Market anymore, their pastas remain available through our online store at

Ted Steen and Claudia Bouvier started Pastificio Boulder at the Boulder Farmers Market, and now their products can be found at Whole Foods locations throughout the region.
Recipe: Pastificio Boulder’s Heirloom Wheat Garganelli with Fresh Asparagus and Creamy Ricotta Lemon Sauce


  • 1lb dry heirloom wheat Garganelli
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 of a small onion (diced)
  • 1 lemon (zest and juice)
  • 1 bunch of Asparagus, washed and cut into ½” pieces
  • 8oz fresh ricotta (Five Freedoms Dairy)
  • ½ cup of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • Finely chopped chives
  • Salt and Black pepper

For Pangrattato:

  • 3 thick slices of sourdough bread, 3 cloves of garlic (minced), olive oil, zest of one lemon, salt and black pepper


  • Prepare the pangrattato by toasting three slices of sourdough bread in the oven. Cut it into squares, coarsely crumb it in a food processor (leave it with uneven, about pea sized crumbs). Saute garlic in olive oil, add lemon zest and the breadcrumbs. Toss and let mixture coat the crumbs, add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Wash the asparagus, remove dry, fibrous ends, cut into 2″ pieces. Blanch the asparagus by boiling in salted water for 2 minutes and quickly cool it in ice water. Drain.
  • Bring 4 quarts of water with plenty of salt to a boil.
  • Saute onions with olive oil until light golden. Add lemon juice and zest.
  • Add asparagus and toss to get it coated. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook pasta as per pasta box instructions. Place ricotta in a bowl, season with salt, pepper and half of the Parmigiano Reggiano.
  • Once pasta is al dente, transfer it to the bowl and gently toss.
  • Add asparagus to the pasta and lightly mix.
  • Plate, sprinkle with Pangrattato, fresh chives and the rest of the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

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