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Mushroom grow kits on the rise as people seek food at home

Amanda Olson and her husband, Andrew, have been growing and selling mushrooms for over five years operating as the Maine Mushroom Company.
Published: Feb. 15, 2021 at 5:16 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) -”They just come in all colors and shapes. They’re really like art you can eat.”

Amanda Olson and her husband, Andrew, have been growing and selling mushrooms for over five years operating as the Maine Mushroom Company.

“We specialize in growing boutique quality, gourmet mushrooms. We’ve actually seen a growth in sales this year rather than a decline, but the markets that we’re selling to have changed a lot. There’s been a huge increase in demand for grow kits.”

Orders from restaurants dried up while demand at farmers markets and natural food stores shot upward.

As people became more interested in having access to local food grown at home, the Maine Mushroom Company turned to another local business to help provide grow kits.

“Local to us in Gardiner is Maine Cap and Stem. They produce certified organic substrate for mushroom growers all over the country.”

Erik Lomen of Maine Cap and Stem handles warehouse space and shipping of the kits. Olson says he also helped advise them when they started their business years ago. Some of the video for this story is used with permission from this piece on Erik and Cap N’ Stem.

“You can purchase a grow kit and within 7-21 days, you have mushrooms that you can eat. Even overnight, you can see them growing.” says Olson. “Parents at home with children want to purchase grow kits as kind of an at home science project.”

But if you’re still sitting there thinking….ew…Olson suggests you give the fast growing fungi another try.

“Most people who say they don’t like mushrooms maybe have tried canned mushrooms or white button mushrooms only. They just have this thing in their head that mushrooms are gross and slimy. The mushrooms that we grow are totally different. Really great flavors, a meaty texture.”

If you’ve tried or considered growing mushrooms at home, let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

“We hope it will create long term behavioral change for people who want to continue to source their food locally.”

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