A Growing Plant-Based Business
Wilmington-based Kind Cultures handcrafts small-batch vegan cheese alternatives for plant-based eaters throughout the Southeast.
By Frank O. Steele
The seed for a new Wilmington business was planted in January 2020 when Ashley John and her husband, Justin, decided to commit to a healthier lifestyle for their family.
Ashley began trying plant-based recipes in her home kitchen by handcrafting vegan sour crème for the family. She also bought vegan cheesecakes from a friend, and one day, she took a sample of her sour crème to that friend, who enjoyed it so much she recommended Ashley to the Panacea Restaurant in Wilmington. After the owners tried Ashley’s sour crème, Panacea Restaurant became her first customer. Kind Cultures was born.
Kind Cultures specializes in plant-based artisan cheeses, which are slow-crafted with a lot of care. The cheeses are handmade in small batches and are cultured. Everything starts out as a simple mixture of cashews and water. From there, the mixture is cultured overnight in small batches, just like traditional dairy cheeses. The final step is to mix in secondary ingredients to create a variety of delicious flavors. The cheeses spread like regular cheese spreads.
The three employees of this small, woman-owned business make 10 varieties of vegan artisan cheeses. The company’s two best sellers are spicy pimento and gouda. All their products consist of plant-based ingredients, and no preservatives or anything processed is added to any of the company’s products.
Kind Cultures, which is based at 1616 Shipyard Boulevard, Suite 10, in Wilmington, is planning to expand and currently ships its products in refrigerated, insulated overnight containers around North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Florida. Shipping is via UPS. Shipping costs are determined by location and the weight of the container.
Want to Try Kind Cultures vegan cheese?
You can contact Ashley via her Facebook page (Kind Cultures) or via Instagram (AshleyJohn@KindCultures).
Kind Cultures attends local farmers markets (see the schedule on Facebook) or you can find Kind Cultures products at the following establishments:
Panacea Restaurant, 4107 Oleander Drive, Suite H, Wilmington
Tidal Creek Cooperative Food Market, 5329 Oleander Drive, Suite 100, Wilmington
Fermental Beer and Wine Garden, 600 S. 17th Street, Wilmington
Sealevel City Vegan Diner, 1015 S. Kerr Avenue, Wilmington
Mess Hall, 2136 Wrightsville Avenue, Wilmington
Veggie Wagon, 608 Lake Boulevard S., Carolina Beach