scargot caviar is a delicacy not known to many. It has a pearl like texture and is far less common to the luxury egg market than its fish caviar relatives.
Co-founders, Cheryl Jakobi and Sara Bailey, initially set off on a research trip to trial escargot flesh. While eating escargot was fine, when it came time to ‘use’ their own homegrown first batch of snails they realised that it did not sit well with them. Cheryl and Sara discovered that utilising the snail eggs as caviar allowed the “snails to live out their lives, doing what snails do”, while also producing a luxury fine food product that retails for upwards of USD $4000 per kilo.
Sara’s background as a veterinarian, and Cheryl’s background as a counsellor, involving disadvantaged youth in her horse riding programs, meant that snail farming was a very new concept to them.
Finding the Helix aspera snail posed their first business challenge. “We are currently in a drought where there are no Helix aspera snails about. We sourced sixty snails from different gardens locally before the weather dried up, and bred them. We now have a lot of baby snails which won’t produce eggs until they are 10 months old,” explains Cheryl. “We are on the search now for adult snails. I’ve been ringing schools and community gardens asking them not to poison snails when they appear, but rather give them to us!”
Cheryl and Sara also wanted to create a business within their local community that could employ and empower those around them. “We want to help the local community as we come from a low socioeconomic area.”
When Cheryl and Sara started the Rocket Seeder Autumn Crop 18 program they only had a basic idea. They didn’t have a business name, or a product. Their focus while participating in the Autumn Crop 18 program has been on customer discovery, validation and developing their minimal viable product.
Without the Rocket Seeder program, Cheryl and Sara wouldn’t have realised the true potential of escargot caviar. “We would have gone about this business the completely wrong way and it wouldn’t take off. The Rocket Seeder program has given us the best chance at achieving our vision, so we see it as a real gift.”
In the future, Cheryl and Sara hope to expand into gourmet mushrooms as well as offering factory walkthroughs and a cafe incorporating their products, keeping in line with their mission of creating jobs within the local community.
We look forward to seeing the result of this high-end escargot caviar product curated to suit their customers’ needs.