Grow-it-Yourself Mushroom Kits: Supporting the Conservation of Endemic/Native NZ mushrooms

The drive: What challenges have you overcome?  

The past year has been a real challenged for us because we mainly go to the farmers’ market to sell our kits and fresh oyster mushrooms. We have diverted to selling online for oyster mushroom kits through our website and other social pages, but we stopped selling fresh oyster mushrooms due to challenges with courier delays.  

We had a strong collaboration with other Kiwi businesses, local communities, environmental and sustainability groups who were passionate about health and wellness, we also used the time to build relationships with passionate and motivated home/backyard gardeners, parents and fascinated science individuals like us.  

For better or worse: What are the pros and cons of running your own business?  

Running our own small family business has given us the freedom to enjoy having more time together, enjoying doing the things we love: learning new skills and meeting new people with the same passion.  

They may not always be happy days: being a small family business, we are limited with resources and it can be stressful at times, but with great planning and determination we overcome the hurdles that come our way.  

Hopes and dreams: What next?  

We love to teach, and our aim is to be able to support local communities through a mushroom growing/coaching programme while working and supporting zero waste. Our focus is to encourage Kiwi families, schools, and local communities to choose to grow our NZ endemic/native mushroom varieties rather than imported species, in the most sustainable, cheapest and easiest way possible. This will help us preserve our beautiful endemic/native mushrooms for future Kiwi generations.  

Another goal is to have our NZ endemic/native mushrooms varieties on Kiwi, value-added, plant-based food products to bring awareness to traditional Maori food that once was forgotten.  

We will cultivate and conduct product development with NZ endemic/native mushrooms varieties such as:  

1. NZ Native Phoenix Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus pulmonarius).  

2. NZ Native Shiitake mushroom (Lentinula novae-zelandiae). 

3. NZ Native Pekepeke kiore – also known as Coral Tooth. A cousin of the famous ‘Lions Mane’ mushroom (Hericium novae-zealandiae).   

Visit the Mushroomate website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.  

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