Worth Knowing: VegetaBall Farm Pesto is a homegrown delight

Have you tried the VegetaBall Farm Pesto? This delicious pesto has been made in Claremont since the 1990's. It was originally created by Darlene Ball and made in small batches in her kitchen cuisinart. Jeff and Sarah Barrette now own the top secret recipe and produce the pesto 2 days a week in their Water Street commercial kitchen. They bought the business last Spring after a chance meeting with Ball as she ordered T-shirts from the Barrette's screen printing and embroidery business, The Ink Factory. She left a sample of her pesto with Jeff Barrette and - well - he fell in love with it. When Ball came back to pick up her finished T-shirts, Barrette told her how much he loved the pesto and she mentioned that she was ready to retire and was going to sell the business. A short time later, the Barrettes bought the rights to and Ball's equipment for producing VegetaBall Farm Pesto.

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Now the pesto is made in a 700-square-foot room off the main entrance to The Ink Factory on Water Street in Claremont. The recipe for the pesto hasn't changed since Darlene Ball came up with it in the 1990's. Four part-time employees make the pesto, which is sold in 7- and 12-ounce containers. They produce about 700 pounds a week. Basil is the main ingredient in pesto, and during the growing season, Barrette said, they source as much as they can from local farms, including Edgewater in Plainfield and Spring Ledge in New London. Since the Barrette's have taken over production, they've added two new products - a hot pepper pesto blend and a nut-free pesto blend. You can find VegetaBall Farm Pesto at The Co-op Food Stores in the Upper Valley, as well as at several locations in Claremont and Charlestown. It's also sold in a number of locations in Brattleboro and Burlington. You really ought to try it.

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