Speciality mushrooms are becoming more and more popular, and the market is growing month by month, as with many 'niche' products they are increasingly featured on cooking programs on mainstream TV.

UK company, Smithy Mushrooms specialise in Shiitake and Oyster and other Asian varieties. The Oyster and Shiitake are grown on-site in Ormskirk in controlled humidity tunnels.

"People are more willing to try different colours and textures of mushrooms these days. I think this is partly due to all the gastro programs on TV. In addition to the mushrooms we grow here we also have seasonal, wild varieties which we source from around the world when they are in season. At the moment shiitake is the fastest growing we can't grow enough to keep up with demand," explained Andy Evans from the company.

Mushroom kits are also becoming more popular and Smithy's have a nice selection available. "Some people still prefer the old growing kits," according to Andy. "But our kits are sold with a guarantee and we use the same substrate in the kits as we do in the tunnels."

Christmas sees a slight rise in demand for speciality mushrooms as people eat out more.

Smithy's produce around 7 tonnes of speciality mushrooms a week, supplying supermarkets and wholesale markets from Edinburgh to London.

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