Nisku mushroom farm flourishing
Laine Mitchell, CTV Edmonton
Published Friday, January 4, 2019 5:00PM MST
A mushroom farm in Nisku is seeing its business sprout, thanks to a growing style that is unique in Canada.
Rachel Gruger and her husband Carleton run the Gruger Fungi Farm, growing all of their crops vertically.
“This growing style was sort of replicating a log on the forest floor, and that's really these mushrooms' ideal food source,” said Gruger.
The mushrooms start life in a lab moving from jars to bags of grain, before being mixed into large sacks with hemp fibre and recycled grain.
The couple began their mushroom venture in 2015 by growing fungi in a sea can just to see of it was possible. They saw some success, with a few local restaurants expressing interest.
As demand grew so did their business operations, moving to their current large scale facility in summer 2017, before harvesting their first fungi last March.
With 13 growing rooms they harvest 600 pounds of mushrooms a week, partnering with well-known restaurants in Edmonton like Rge Rd and Chartier in Beaumont. They also attend farmers markets multiple times a week.
“People are really starting to care about where their food comes from,” said Gruger.
The fungal growers say with enough local support, they believe their vertical fungi farm will grow nearly as fast as their mushrooms.
“Plant based proteins are on the rise, mushrooms are an incredible source of protein with a lot of nutrition in them.”
With files from Jeremy Thompson