Plant-based cheese made from cashews may not yet be in every household, but a small producer from Launceston is hoping to cultivate a wider following.
Artisa Cheese has been producing plant-based cheese products made from cashews for three years and has developed a loyal following of customers.
The business is one of several statewide agricultural start-ups who have been selected to join SeedLab Tasmania's Cultivate program.
Artisa Cheese owner Julie Martyn said she joined the program because she wanted to expand her customer base but also find new ways to diversify.
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As a result of the program, Artisa has developed a "create-your-own cheese kit" that is now being sold online, to teach people how to ferment plant-based cheese.
Cultivate has had to transform from a face-to-face program to one done primarily online due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Mrs Martyn said it had been successful so far.
"It's been a great program, we've been involved from the start, but it's been fantastic in terms of the contacts and networking we've done," Mrs Martyn said.
Artisa makes plant-based cheese products for those who have dairy intolerances, but also for people who choose a plant-based vegan diet.
She said they had a loyal following of interstate customers but wanted to expand.
Mrs Martyn said involvement in the Cultivate program will help her take the steps needed to become export-ready in the future.
Artisa cheeses are made from cashews in a similar way to dairy cheese, using fermentation techniques, to give the product an authentic taste and texture.
Mrs Martyn said Artisa was a real Tasmanian success story because they tried to weave in as many Tasmanian ingredients as possible.
"We don't use imported cashews and we make varieties that use Tasmanian ingredients such as Tasmanian black garlic and there's a variety we make with Tasmanian pepper berries," she said.
Artisa Cheese at the moment is sold online but before COVID-19 it was sold at the Harvest Market in Launceston. The business also has a small factory outlet at Prospect.
Seedlab Tasmania is a two-year program to help Tasmanian startup food, drink, agri-food and agri-tourism businesses start, scale and grow to become export-ready.