CENTRAL POINT — What started as a small entrepreneurship to keep Shannon Schnibbe home with her family and earning a few extra bucks has grown to a nationally marketed product, vegan Parmesan, and sales of some 30,000 containers over the past year.

CENTRAL POINT — What started as a small entrepreneurship to keep Shannon Schnibbe home with her family and earning a few extra bucks has grown to a nationally marketed product, vegan Parmesan, and sales of some 30,000 containers over the past year.

Parma, made of yeast, Celtic sea salt and organic walnuts — which Schnibbe orders 100 pounds at a time — was born in her Central Point kitchen four years ago.

Always whipping up a new flavor condiment, Parma was husband Warren's favorite and a kid-friendly food for her young daughter.

Schnibbe said her preference for something vegan and in line with raw food diets began when she attempted to combat allergies by using diet instead of medication. The raw food diet helped Schnibbe's allergies, and soon friends and family were asking for batches of the vegan Parmesan.

With a background in business, the 41-year-old Chicago transplant, who moved to the valley in 2002, decided to give a home business a try.

"One day my husband was like, 'Hey, why don't we bottle that stuff you make?' " Schnibbe said.

Orders began trickling in from local stores with natural food sections. Customers submitted recipe ideas to her Web site, www.eatintheraw.com. Skinnybitch.net, a popular online site for raw food and vegan aficionados, named Parma one of its favorite foods. Correction: See below.

Parma now is sold in most states. Last spring, it earned kosher certification and made its way into a handful of grocery stores in Canada.

"One woman came up to us at this show where we had a booth and told me, 'I go to my refrigerator in the middle of the night and take out Parma and pour it in my hand and I eat it by itself,' " Schnibbe said.

"She said she's addicted to the stuff. "¦ People really do seem to like it."

Medford resident Megan Neill, who was a Parma fan even before going to work for Schnibbe, said the walnut mix is an unlikely favorite for her as well.

"I like the chipotle better than the regular. It's really got a great flavor. I don't know why, it's just really good," Neill said.

Warren Schnibbe said he was pleasantly surprised how quickly his home had turned into a Parma factory.

"It's real exciting to take an idea and see it grow into something that is a productive thing and to be able to make a product that is good for people — that has a lot of value to it," he said.

"We've gotten a lot of positive feedback. I think the only question now is how to keep up with demand."

Schnibbe acknowledged average diners aren't as quick to try vegan or raw food products.

"If I can get people who are not necessarily vegetarian to try it, they always say they like it," she said.

"I really feel good about offering a product that's healthy."

Locally, Parma is available at Food 4 Less in Medford and Shop N' Kart and the Co-Op in Ashland.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at buffypollock@juno.com.

Correction: The Web address for Skinnybitch.net, a popular online site for raw food and vegan aficionados, was listed incorrectly in the original version of this story. This version has been corrected.