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Expansion ahead for Ontario exotic mushroom growers

The supply of exotic mushrooms looks to be similar to this time last year. "Exotic mushrooms occupy less than 10 percent of the whole mushroom market with the dominant mushroom still being the white and brown," says Sammy You, operations director for Nebo Mushrooms. The grower-shipper in Hamilton, Ontario grows Oyster (grey, yellow, and Eryngii, which is also known as the King Oyster), Shiitake, and Lion's Mane mushrooms.

As for demand for exotic mushrooms, it too looks stable. "We're able to sell what we produce. In all, we are not seeing a decline of demand for exotic mushrooms nor an obvious increase of the demand," says You, who notes that of the varieties it grows, Shiitake is the big mover in terms of product and it supplies the mushroom through its sister farm to retailers such as Costco, Loblaws, Whole Foods, Metro and more. That said, other mushrooms such as the Yellow Oyster mushroom, which almost resembles a flower, is one where consumers need more education about how to prepare and consume it. While that education is industry-wide, Nebo is taking to social media platforms such as LinkedIn to help teach customers about exotic mushrooms.

Retail vs. food distributor
That includes customers of all kinds–from retail to foodservice. For NEBO, 80 percent of its distribution is in the retail market, 15 percent to foodservice through food distributors, and the remaining five percent to smaller stores.

To ship to retailers and foodservice, in Canada, the growers-shippers of exotic mushrooms tend to be on either side of the country with some located in Ontario and some in British Columbia on the West Coast. As for Nebo, it operated for nine years under the Veggy Symphony Mushroom Farm name and in March of this year, completed a rebrand under the Nebo name. With the rebrand completed, it's now moving towards expansion. "We're planning our next project which will add 66,000 square feet to our existing facility," says You. "That means there will be a daily capacity of 10,000 lb. mushrooms compared to 2,000 lb. mushrooms per day." The expansion is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2025.

Back to mushrooms specifically, on pricing, it does look similar to this time last year as well, though (as many growers of commodities across the country have seen) input costs from freight to packaging have significantly increased.

For more information:
Sammy You
Nebo Mushrooms Ltd.
Tel: +1 (905)-577-5660
[email protected]