Food Find: New Artisan Vegan “Cheese” Draws Raves at the Studio City Farmers Market

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carole rosner90BY CAROLE ROSNER


Lois and Allen Keller   Photos: Courtesy Nary Dairy

Studio City residents Allen and Lois Keller never imagined  launching a food business. Yes, they are creative (she’s an artist and he’s a musician/writer/advertising guy) and resourceful, but neither thought of themselves as artisan chefs. However, after going through a food overhaul last year (also known as a three-week concentrated cleanse), they felt healthier, more creative and further motivated to completely change their own family’s diet for the better. “We turned what you can’t eat into what you can eat,” Lois explained.

Keegan-Michael Key from Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele” says he always has Nary Dairy in his fridge.

Keegan-Michael Key from Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele” says he always has Nary Dairy in his fridge.

Since many health experts suggest that “all health begins in the gut,” Allen and Lois started developing recipes that limited the amount of “stomach aching” ingredients such as gluten, and dairy.

After playing with different recipes, they created a favorite “new” food made with 100% cashews which they discovered was a perfect substitute for soft dairy cheese in both taste and usage — it’s spreadable and nutritionally rich, but also raw and both soy and lactose-free.  As soon as the recipe got the thumbs up from their two daughters, the Kellers knew they were on to something good — and they named it Nary Dairy™.

Nary Dairy

Nary Dairy is spreadable, nutritionally rich and lactose free.

The Kellers premiered Nary Dairy at the  Studio City Farmers Market a few months ago where it now sells out weekly.  They believe its popularity comes from the unique fermenting process which gives it the tang of traditional cheese.  Plus, it’s creamy, low in saturated fat and is also extremely adaptable in recipes, such as soups, deviled eggs and lasagna.

“Our market has a very health conscious customer base, so when Allen came in with his product, which tastes great and is a healthy vegan alternative to cheese, we knew it would be popular,” said Esther Walker, Executive Director, Studio City Chamber of Commerce and Studio City Farmers Market. “Allen is the kind of vendor we love to have at our market. He has a unique product that no one else has, and he is passionate about what he does.”

Raw lasagna

Raw lasagna made with creamy “cheese.”

All flavors start with cashews that are blended with a special fermenting cocktail made from live sprouted grains. The flavors then get enhanced with premium ingredients. Roasted Garlic™ is boosted with Gilroy Garlic, Milwaukee Smoked Cheddar ™ has the addition of a secret hickory smoked powder imported from Keller’s hometown of Milwaukee, and Chia Cheddar ™ gets its nutritional kick from chia seeds, turmeric and Braggs Liquid Aminos.

Enjoy cholesterol free deviled eggs. Substitute Nary Dairy Beddar Cheddar for the mayonnaise and yolks.

Enjoy cholesterol free deviled eggs. Substitute Nary Dairy Beddar Cheddar for the mayonnaise and yolks.

Nary Dairy has a legion of fans, including Joey Santiago, lead guitarist of  The Pixies.  ”Nary Dairy has lots of protein and flavor, and no dairy. What’s not to like?”

Actor and comedian Keegan-Michael Key from Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, said, “Nary Dairy is a constant in my fridge. Allen has really found a great balance with texture and taste.”

Allen makes each labor intensive, small batch by hand at the Pasadena’s Chefs Center of California.

Mini raspberry "cheese" cake with Nary Dairy.

Mini raspberry “cheese” cake with Nary Dairy.

“I sample every batch for taste and I’m never sick of it,” said Allen, and seemingly, the same goes for its many fans.

Nary Dairy    Contact:  or 818.391.6263. Follow Nary Dairy on Facebook.  Call for special orders.  Nutritional information per serving: 155 calories, 12 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat), 5 grams of protein. A 3.25oz  eco-friendly package of Nary Dairy sells for $7 at the Studio City Farmers Market on Sundays from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Carole Rosner is a native Valley Girl who took the school bus with Michael and Janet Jackson and worked at the Sherman Oaks Galleria in its heyday. She likes to spend her free time finding bargains at Crossroads Trading Company, eating Chinese chicken salad at Stanley’s and admiring the view from Fryman Canyon. 








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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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