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Local business focuses on growing gourmet mushrooms


[Release date]2020-01-03[source]KFOX14
[Core hints]EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14)Before locally grown mushrooms can go from frying pan to dinner plate, the process begins inside

EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) — Before locally grown mushrooms can go from frying pan to dinner plate, the process begins inside a converted garage in West El Paso.

“I took over this company about a year and a half ago,” said Andre Gutierrez, the owner of Myers Mushrooms, a local company that supplies restaurants and chefs with freshly grown gourmet mushrooms. “I started farming organic produce and getting into the local markets and restaurants. Mushrooms weren’t a big part of my diet growing up. Not until recently now that I’m growing them are they a big part of my diet.”

Mushrooms are an edible fungus. So growing mushrooms isn't as simple as planting a seed.

“This is where we prepare the soil of the mushroom,” Gutierrez said. “A scoop of spores goes into this bag.”

The bags are eventually transferred intoa damp, dark plastic-lined enclosure, which is supposed to mimic the conditions on the forest floor.

“In this case we grow lion’s mane and oyster mushrooms and sometimes shitake,” said Gutierrez.

After a few weeks, these mushrooms are ready to harvest. Then that's when the fun begins.

Since late last year, Myers Mushrooms has been offering classes and workshops on how to grow and prepare your own mushrooms. He teamed up with local chef Mario Holguin, who demonstrates some ways to use oyster mushrooms and the lion's mane.

He prepares the traditional Mexican dish known as “guaraches,” using the mushrooms as a delicious substitute for meat.

“I think part of it is having access to these high-quality ingredients like the mushrooms or the vegetables,” said Holguin. “If you have that, you don’t need meat at all.”

Gutierrez agrees.

“It will help a lot of meat eaters transition into a less meat-eating diet,” said Gutierrez.

For Holguin and Gutierrez, the cooking classes and the demonstrations are ways to educate people about the joys of growing and preparing your own food or seeking out locally grown produce.

“Just so you know that you don’t have to be buying stuff from all over the world,” Gutierrez said. “You can buy it locally. You can buy it seasonally. And it’s going to be the best-tasting stuff you can eat.”

As for Myers Mushroom operation, he harvests 80 to 100 pounds a week and sells out every week. So he's looking to expand in 2020.

“That whole local movement is starting to pop up, especially here in this region,” Gutierrez said.
 

 
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