For the next few weeks, North Hills Live will be featuring some of Midtown Farmers’ Market’s vendors to offer an inside look at the people who work hard to bring you locally sourced foods. This week, we talked with Fork + Spoon Fresh Pasta to learn how their parents’ dream became their own, what’s in store for the future, and why they love selling their pasta each week.
North Hills Live: How did Fork + Spoon get its start?
Fork + Spoon: Fork + Spoon got started in 2015 from the inspiration of our parents, Tony and Rosa Hanslits. Tony is a chef in the Midwest and Rosa was born in Italy. Our dad and mom specialized in Italian cuisine and owned several restaurants in Indianapolis. Once our dad shifted his career to a culinary school, our parents didn’t know what to do with the pasta machines they had collected over the years. Eventually, our mom decided to start making fresh pasta to sell at the local farmers’ markets. Low and behold, Nicole-Taylor’s was formed—Indianapolis’s “Fork + Spoon Fresh Pasta.”
We (Ashley, Tina, and Katie) worked for Nicole-Taylor’s on the side while having full-time jobs and/or college schedules in Indianapolis. We used to work the farmers’ markets for my parents, and we loved it! When the three of us moved to North Carolina for work in 2011, we did some research in the area and didn’t find any business that offered the product that we could. In March 2015, our parents helped invest in starting Fork + Spoon Fresh Pasta.
North Hills Live: What brought the Fork + Spoon team to Raleigh?
Fork + Spoon: Ashley was working for The Chef’s Academy at the time and was promoted to relocate to their new location in Morrisville. Roughly four months later, Tina followed to be with Ashley. Katie was working for The Chef’s Academy, too, and she moved after finishing her undergraduate studies at Hanover College in 2011.
North Hills Live: You got your inspiration from your parents. Is this still a family-run business? Is there anything your parents are doing that you’d like to replicate?
Fork + Spoon: Yes! Ashley and Tina Moralez got married in September 2015 and have been together for nine years. They both worked for Ashley’s parents in Indianapolis and wanted to bring the business to North Carolina with them. Katie Hanslits (Ashley’s sister) moved to Raleigh six months later and joined the business! Now, her boyfriend, Dustin Carmichael, is in the mix. We will always keep it within our family.
Our parents now have a full store front with Italian meats, cheese, olives, sauces, and so much more! They recently opened a “Backroom Eatery” and host “Demos and Dinners” where customers can come, bring their own wine and beer, and eat while they cook in front of them. It’s the hottest table in Indianapolis, and it’s sold out till 2018. In the years to come, we want to follow in their footsteps and open up a store front, too. Hopefully, they will move to Raleigh and help with that. Fingers crossed!
North Hills Live: How did you end up at the Midtown Farmers’ Market, and why do you think it’s such a good fit for your company?
Fork + Spoon: Ashley, Tina, and Katie participate in Blondes vs. Brunettes Raleigh, and they met Ashley Stallings through their work with the Alzheimer’s Association. We knew about the market and heard great things, so we were dying to get into it. We had a feeling the customers would be excited to try our fresh pasta, and, boy, were we right! The atmosphere, the setup, and the staff are amazing. We love every minute of being at Midtown.
North Hills Live: When and where do you make the pasta?
Fork + Spoon: We work out of a commissary kitchen in Durham, and we make the pasta on Thursday and Friday nights, after leaving our full-time jobs. It’s a lot, but we wouldn’t trade it for the world.
North Hills Live: Do you have other products?
Fork + Spoon: We do! We just launched our fresh marinara sauce and pesto! We are currently working on several new items (you’ll have to wait and see), and we’re excited to bring back our fall flavors (Red Wine and Pumpkin) soon!
North Hills Live: How fresh is the pasta and the sauce when consumers buy it at the Midtown Farmers’ Market?
Fork + Spoon: Very fresh! We make it on Thursday and Friday, and you buy it on Saturday. The pesto and marinara sauces are made Friday night.
North Hills Live: Are there any particular customer favorites?
Fork + Spoon: Parmesan-Chive, Spinach, and Garlic. Those sell like hot cakes! I always encourage a customer to shoot us an email, Facebook message, or Instagram post if they want some and can’t be at the market right at 8:00 a.m., because it will be gone. The sauces have been flying out of the coolers, too!
North Hills Live: What can you expect to see from Fork + Spoon in the future?
Fork + Spoon: We are growing fast! We are currently at three farmers’ markets in the area, and we’re adding new product to our line every week. We are always working on new and exciting things. In the future, we would like to participate in the markets year-round so you never have to go without fresh pasta.
North Hills Live: Do you have a favorite moment or memory that stands out from your time at the Midtown Farmers’ Market?
Fork + Spoon: Signing up and getting accepted. We really didn’t know how to communicate our vision through our application. Once we came to the first meeting, everyone tried and loved the pasta. When we had our first day at the market, it was amazing. After the first day, we sold out with 90 minutes left, and we were asked immediately to be a full-time vendor. Everyone loved our display, and it really was awesome to have our vision come to life and people enjoy the product. It is our favorite thing to get customer reviews, see photos of the pasta, and hear great stories about how Fork + Spoon is now an important part of their weeks.