Ohau Gourmet Mushrooms
We are a ‘low-tech’ business, growing Oyster and Shiitake mushrooms (and grow kits) that we sell online and at farmers markets on the lower half of the North Island (NZ).
Ohau Gourmet Mushrooms was founded in 2018 by Brent and Jude after returning to NZ from 30 years overseas. We were looking for a business idea that would help us transition away from the madness of the corporate world. To build something sustainable and in sync with our values and those of the planet.
Our previous business was as management consultants teaching business agility to executive teams of large corporations. We applied the concepts of agile and lean in building our business. 2018 was a busy year focused on developing our MVP (minimum viable product), to be selling mushrooms at a local market within 3 months. Having achieved that we then aimed to be growing 50kg a week by the end of the year.
2019 was the year to find a property and was able to tick that off the to-do list by the end of January. We now have a dream farm (and lifestyle) with many new additions to our family. These include “little pig” (our Kune Kune). Mt Peacock, a growing collection of ducks and hens, our Arawapa Sheep (and the joy of lambs in spring).
What we grow
Our current products include fresh:
- Oyster mushrooms, both Pink and Phoenix (Grey)
- Turkey Tail (to a limited extent)
We soon hope to add Hericium aka Coral Tooth to our offering, which is similar to Lions Mane for those who know about this important fungus.
We use permaculture and regenerative farming techniques, we don’t use pesticides, herbicides, or any nasty stuff on our property, we try to use nature wherever possible, which involves developing balanced and natural systems.
Our goal is to grow food that tastes fantastic, is highly nutritious, and has amazing health properties. But more importantly, to make this food available to the average person at a reasonable price. Our values are also very focused on community and local, so we operate mainly at local farmers markets.
There are many reasons why we choose mushrooms to grow, one of them is that in addition to being a nutritional wonder food, they are also highly sustainable (low impact) to grow:
- Uses minimal water
- Requires no pesticides or chemicals
- Use of growing mediums that would be considered waste products: we use untreated (food grade) pine sawdust and hull from soybeans. Others might use coffee grounds or cardboard.
- Small footprint. Requires little space, so can be grown in cities and close to consumers
How we do it
Unlike field mushrooms, which grow on composted chicken poop, the mushrooms we grow would naturally grow on decaying trees like Oak, Hickory, and Poplar – plus some conifers like spruce and fir. No dirt, manure, or darkness is used in the making of our mushrooms!
At Ohau Gourmet Mushrooms, we try to grow as naturally as possible. Our method uses a hanging 18kg bag filled with organic Pine sawdust plus some Soy for nutrition. As far as our mushrooms are concerned, they are living happily in an old tree and just hanging around for the right conditions to fruit.
These conditions are created in grow rooms constructed from reused insulated shipping containers, lined with stainless steel. Here we set the temperature and humidity to that in South East Asia (it’s Bali in our grow) and allow 2-3 weeks to fruit, be picked, then taken fresh to the market.
Where to try and buy
We mainly sell our fresh products at Farmers Markets:
- Paraparaumu Beach Saturday Market – Saturdays
- Fielding Market – Friday (but check first as we are a casual there)
- Harbourside market in Wellington – Sundays
- And monthly markets at Te Horo, Levin, and Palmerston North