Veronica Schwartz and Pablo Castro, the tenacious duo behind Dr. Cow Tree Nut Cheeses, met in their native Argentina where they were both working in the food world—she as a pastry chef and he in his family’s restaurant business. In the late ‘90s, the pair created a small company, developing granola from the nutrient-dense ancient grains amaranth and quinoa, but as Veronica recalls, “In the early 2000’s there was nothing popular about it and nobody knew about these grains.”The food-loving duo moved to New York together in 2001, where they discovered Ace Natural and teamed up with us to continue making their granola. “I was still working as a pastry chef in a restaurant and Pablo was working too, so we did it on the side. It was a really small company.” Then they were exposed to the raw food movement: “We were amazed that we loved it,” says Veronica. “We changed our recipe to make the granola completely raw…and we developed new products and came out with cheese. It took a year to completely develop the cheese and then put it out there on the market.”The cheese to which Veronica is referring is Dr. Cow’s organic, GMO-free, aged, raw vegan cheese, made from nuts. “The process,” Veronica explains, “is very similar to how you make regular [dairy] cheese. We get our cashews from a great source in Indonesia where they open them by hand, so they are truly raw. We don’t buy cultures–we make our own out of different grains. Basically everything is made here except for the nuts. We make milk [from the cashews] with a culture, ferment it together, and mold the cheese. Then we age the cheese for a minimum of six weeks.”Needless to say, the cheese was a huge hit. “We started showing the product in Manhattan and it started spreading…people were spreading the word. It was kind of crazy. No one knew about it and it was totally new—cheese made out of nuts, what is that? But it tastes great–it tastes like cheese!”Today, Dr. Cow is located in Brooklyn at 93 S. 6th St. Pablo and Veronica also live in Brooklyn with their six-year-old daughter, Suy. Veronica estimates that the family eats raw 80% of the time, occasionally steaming greens or adding grains to their diet. As for raising a child raw, Veronica says, “She totally gets it. It’s really easy when you do it from the beginning and we are really creative with our food. She doesn’t ask for things that she can’t have. The harder part for her is to understand why people eat food that is bad for them.”As for the name “Dr. Cow,” we couldn’t help but ask—how did they come up with it? “That was like, a long time ago, a different time,” says Veronica. “It was something to honor the cow. What is going on with them right now is terrifying and we hoped to make it more sacred. It’s an old name from a time when hip-hop was more popular. There were many artists calling themselves “Dr.” like Dr. Dre…Dr. Cow! And we’ve had that logo with the cow since we were in Argentina and it was very cute and we loved the cow and we kept it.”Another great part of the Dr. Cow operation is that the business is very focused on their principles: being environmentally conscious, sustainable, and staying small enough to be personal. Says Veronica: “It’s fun…we do it because we love it. It’s not about the profit. Pablo and I, we are always working here, and we cherish the process. All our hands and energy are being put into the product. The company is based on that–it’s very personal. We know the cheese is going to someone’s house and it’s important we put our best energy into that. The connection is very important with the customer. People are putting this food in their body.”To learn more about Veronica, Pablo, and Dr. Cow’s Tree Nut Cheese, “like” them on Facebook or follow along on Instagram! Thank you, Veronica!
Images: Instagram @drcowstore + @brunch_with