“Three years ago, I started making these quesitos,” says Laura Olvera, talking about the pretty vegan rounds she and her partner, Kevin Coakley, sell at the Wellfleet Farmers Market. “At that time, I knew absolutely no one in this place except Kevin, and I really wanted to share and connect.”
The word “Nahui” decorates a stack of cards at the couple’s stand at the market. Their brand name comes from the Aztec word nahuatl, which refers to the number four in relation to time — especially the movements of the seasons. Olvera wanted her project to honor her roots in Mexico.
Olvera started working on an alternative to cheese after a doctor told her she needed to cut back on dairy. After lots of kitchen “alchemy,” the recipe she landed on features raw almonds that are soaked and ground, then spiked with a variety of natural flavors. The resulting paste is shaped into wheels, decorated with fresh herbs and flowers, and cured for a few days in the refrigerator before being offered at the market.
Though some people appreciate Olvera’s cheese rounds because they’re healthy, many nonvegans tell her they enjoy them, too, spread on crackers and added to salads.
Besides being a gardener and cook, Olvera is also a yoga teacher, and Coakley is a professional skateboarder, among other things they have done since they moved to Cape Cod in 2019. They make their home in Eastham, though their rental is not year-round, so they’re staying in a yurt at a friend’s place in Truro for the summer.
The making of these cheeses has been a journey, Olvera says. It took a long time to get the paperwork in order for selling a food product to the public. She sees each one as an offering of love and gratitude to the source. “Making them keeps reminding me that yoga is in every act we do, and it takes intention, an open heart, and movement to keep creating,” she says. The couple are not sure what will be next for Nahui. “We’re allowing this project to reveal itself,” Olvera says. —Agata Storer