The fragile beauty of gourmet mushrooms is on display in a container parked up in Paraparaumu. Mushrooms are high in Vitamin B and D and also have high protein, making them a valuable food source for vegans and vegetarians. From Lindale Village, Jude Horrill and Brent Williams have begun harvesting phoenix, oyster and shiitake mushrooms under the name Lindale Gourmet Mushrooms. The operation currently produces 20Kg per week but a second container will allow the business to scale up to 50-60kg by August 2018. The couple are hoping to supply seven top end restaurants and has already signed on Wellington’s Ortega Fish Shack. The mushrooms are very popular at Te Horo and Paraparaumu markets and will soon be available at Wellington’s Harbour Side market each Sunday.
Mushrooms start life in a petri dish as mycelium before being transferred into jars of organic rye grain. Once the grain has been colonised by the mycelium it is transferred into bags containing oak and soy hull pellets. The mycelium is fooled into thinking the bags are oak trees and grows outward towards oxygen through tiny pin pricks in the bags. The bags are hung in a temperature and humidity controlled container, where the autumn like conditions cause the mushrooms to fruit. From the petri dish it takes about 10 weeks until harvest. For every kilo of dry substrate (the oak and soy) the operation presently produces 1.1kg of mushrooms and Williams thinks 1.5kg is possible. The bags can produce up to three harvests before the substrate is recycled into compost.
Lindale Gourmet Mushrooms is aiming to be sustainable and off grid and production has exceeded expectations.