Columbia Farmers Market

the farmers behind the market

Next Market Date: 
October 2
8:00 AM
12:00 PM

Pasta La Fata: The Pasta 'Fairy' is in the Building

Shelly La Fata is in the business of perfecting exceptional handcrafted artisanal Italian food, utilizing traditional techniques, passed down to her from the women in her family, specifically her Sicilian grandmother, Josephine La Fata, and it shows. Each of Shelly’s unique Italian delicacies require focus, discipline and the freshest of ingredients, all of which are essential components to authentic Italian cuisine. The lines for Pasta La Fata don’t lie. Something magical is happening when Shelly and her Pasta La Fata team visit the market.

The week leading up to a Saturday market, Shelly and her team of professionals put in dedicated and long hours in hopes of feeding each and every anxious customer. While channeling the artistry and productivity of past and present Italian grandmothers, Shelly and her production team often think about the grandmothers and people of Italy who’ve cultivated this cuisine, “When we’re working with the pasta, we often times think about women who are making pasta all over Italy. How their strong hands work the dough. There are as many ways to make pasta as there are grandmothers in Italy. Keeping with tradition is very important. Grandmothers love the people they're cooking for, and so do we.”

From 8am-10pm she rarely slows down. She can’t. "When I see lines, it makes me more ambitious. I want everyone to get what they came for. We will meet the demand and prepare as much food as possible so everyone can go home with pasta.”

Despite all Shelly’s hard work and long hours, you’d be hard pressed not to find a smile on her face.When asked what she loves most about being the creative force and owner of Pasta La Fata, she speaks of tradition, “I enjoy sharing my family’s traditions and representing Italian food culture, by using the best local products. The Italians are OBSESSED with products from their own towns. True Italian cooking is using what is seasonal, preserving what isn’t and always using local ingredients when you can.”

Made with Local Ingredients

Many of the local ingredients she selects come directly from the farmers market, “During the summer months, as soon as eggplant is peaking, I buy whatever vendors haven’t sold at the market that day. I roast and preserve eggplant in the summer so that we can eat eggplant parmesan ravioli all winter. I’ll drive out to vendor’s farms as well. I utilize beef from Lage Farms, the Stanton Brothers deliver eggs twice per week and I select my chicken from Cook Farms. My mushrooms come from the Grow Bros. I also exclusively purchase my greens and tomatoes from a friendly farmer located in my neighborhood in Central Columbia.”

Shelly’s last name, La Fata, Italian for ‘The Fairy’, sums up the magical experience she creates at the market. She comes prepared with something for everyone. Shelly offers 10 varieties of ravioli, plus lasagna and cannelloni in a variety of sizes.

Throughout the year, new pasta fillings appear on her menu, like Wild Ramp & Spinach or Lemon Asparagus Ravioli in the Spring. In addition to pasta, Shelly makes her family's favorite Italian cookies, tomato sauce and offers a rotating special of extraordinary delectables.

Having only been a vendor at the Columbia Farmers Market since 2017, it’s become the highlight of her week, “I feel like I’m 3 feet off the ground after a busy market day. I’ve become friends with many customers and vendors, everyone has been so supportive. This market is such an important part of our community. Every personal interaction with each and every one of my customers is a great gift. People’s opinions, feedback and ideas are very important to me and I take it all very seriously. I’m always working to improve. Columbia is my home and I’m looking forward to growing my business here.”

You can find out more about Shelly’s specific ingredients, techniques and adventures on her Facebook page, Pasta La Fata, and on her Instagram page, @shellyannlafata. There you can find her updated specials and her planned attendance at the market, as she only sells her Pasta La Fata offerings at the Columbia Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. Planning ahead is always a good idea, as Shelly loves to travel maybe as much as she enjoys experimenting with Italian cuisine. Therefore, checking in regularly on her social media platforms means you won’t be disappointed or leave the market empty handed!

"I enjoy sharing my family’s traditions and representing Italian food culture, by using the best local products."
-Shelly La Fata
Columbia Farmers Market

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