Ohau Gourmet Mushrooms (MycoBio Ltd) is a ‘low-tech’ startup, growing Oyster and Shiitake mushrooms for restaurants and farmers markets on the lower half of the North Island (NZ).
Founded in 2018 by Brent and Jude after returning to NZ from 30 years overseas. At this stage, we were looking for a business idea that would help us transition away from the increasing madness of the corporate world. Our vision: to build something ecological and sustainable that we could take ‘off-grid’ and work toward our vision of leading a permaculture-based business and lifestyle.
2018 was a busy year focused on building our business, with the goal of finding a suitable property in 2019. As fortune would have it we found a dream property in Ohau in January, and are now well on our way of realizing our vision.
What we grow
Our current products include fresh:
- Oyster mushrooms, both Pink and Phoenix (grey)
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.
Practicing 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 make available food that tastes fantastic, is highly nutritious, and has amazing health properties as well …just google it!
We also want to offer restaurants a fresh option for their menus that appeals equally to carnivores and to the growing number of vegetarians and vegans, as well as people with other dietary needs.
On top of being a nutritional wonder food, gourmet mushrooms are highly sustainable 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 compost and 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!
We try to grow as naturally as possible. Our method uses a hanging 9kg 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 you can try and buy
We mainly sell our fresh product 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