There weren’t many local vegan businesses in Edmonton when James and Natanya Pearcey bought For the Love of Cheese in 2017. They went in on the business with Natanya’s mother Shirley Lukawitski, and expanded the vegan cheese (cheeze) scene in Edmonton to include products that are tasty and healthy.
“It fits with our lifestyle because my kids did have food sensitivities and we were eating dairy free,” says Natanya. “And my mom loves to cook and she needed her own project, as she had just retired. She started on her own, making some of the cheeses and she was doing it on a really small scale.”
Then Lukawitski kept coming home from the market early after selling out within the first hour of being set up. “Me and my husband thought, ‘We need to join you and we need to make this a bit bigger,’ because our vision for it was quite a bit bigger than I think my mom’s was.”
For the Love of Cheese sells nine vegan cheeses, some of which are both dairy- and-nut free. The Cheeze Sauce made from carrots and potatoes is the best-seller, and Natanya says many people who sample it can’t tell that it’s not dairy. She says the key to great cheese is sampling, and recipes don’t hit the shelves without being approved by the Pearcey’s team of taste testers.
“Our kids have a big part in our business too. They’re almost like our CEOs,” says Natanya. “Anytime we have any recipe, we run it past them, and their palates are quite sensitive. So, if they gobble up something new that we’ve just whipped up then we’re like, ‘OK, it’s good.’”
For the Love of Cheese products are available at Blush Lane Organic Market, Loblaws Brewery City Market, select Sobey’s locations, Remedy, Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market and St. Albert Farmers’ Market.
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