Hard-working couples productively took advantage of the downtime during the pandemic to turn the fascinating idea into Algarve’s first urban organic mushroom farm.
Organically produced mushrooms in the basement of Portimao’s store quickly became a pandemic among Algarve’s best restaurants and many of their chefs.
Grib, the Russian name for “mushrooms” or “fungi,” is Algarve’s first urban organic mushroom farm, which opened in December 2021 on the busy shopping street of Ruadas Rojas, near Portimao’s Largodamo Square.
Production has increased from 10 to 14 in recent months, including common names such as shiitake, but most are hard to find on the shelves of Algarve supermarkets, such as lion’s mane and pink oyster. is.
Cláudia Martins and Ion Volosciuc are both 34-year-old vegetarians seeking to lead a “sustainable” life. After living in London for six years, they decided to return to Portimao to pursue this newly discovered dream.
“I was always fascinated by farming, but I never imagined I was farming,” he says, who has worked primarily in managerial positions for nearly 20 years in the hotel and restaurant fields. “High school dropout” Aeon said.
Meanwhile, Claudia studied optometry and worked in her field in London.
However, when Covid-19 broke out and all of us were trapped in our homes, Ion began to discover more and more about the various uses of mycelium, the nutrients of the fungi that produce mushrooms.
Seeds are planted in their minds, and after months of research and research on how to use mycelium to grow their mushrooms in an urban environment, they bite a bullet and return to Portimao to find a new dream. I decided to chase.
“We put all the eggs in the same basket,” Aeon told us.
“This wasn’t a side job or a hobby for us, so it was a kind of kamikaze movement. That’s our job,” Cláudia added.
Aeon and Claudia have found a store in London where they can leave their old lives and start a new business in Portimao.
“There was a lot of research on this. We understood the theory and on paper it seemed very feasible. We created projects, made business plans, and It was well organized, but I had never actually experimented with growing mushrooms, “Aeon told us.
But the risk was rewarded. Their experiments were successful, and the major changes they made to the normal urban mushroom production process were successful.
“What we’re doing isn’t new, except for a few pitfalls. Some people use wood pellets to grow mushrooms, but we use wood waste from woodworking companies. “We do,” said Aeon.
“Basically, it’s sawdust that doesn’t contain any kind of chemicals or toxic compounds. For carpenters, it’s usually waste that is burned or thrown away. Monshike has friends who work in the industry. We are benefiting them by actually robbing them, “explained Aeon.
A tour of the manufacturing process that involves several steps, such as introducing the mycelium into a substrate (sawdust) and growing the mycelium throughout a series of different steps until it is finally placed and reached in a special tent. Participated in the final stage of growth.
After trying mushrooms for the first time, it’s time to start contacting local restaurants and hotels, as they said, “and live to tell a story.”
Hit among chefs
Ion and Cláudia put together a list of restaurants and hotels they would like to work with and decided to knock on the door. It didn’t take long for mushrooms to become a hit among Algarve chefs.
“I have been working in the hotel department for nearly 20 years, so I worked very closely with the chef. If there are very good products on the market, the chef likes to work with high quality products, so It doesn’t matter how long it takes to pay more or get it.
“We are proud of our work and that makes a difference,” Aeon said, adding that word-of-mouth played a major role in spreading the name of their farm.
As Claudia explained, “We are the only two of us working here. We will deliver the mushrooms ourselves. We do not want it any other way. Mushrooms are taken care of from start to delivery. increase.”
The success was so great that Ion and Cláudia say that the current store has already proven to be too small to meet production needs.
“We will eventually move to a larger space, but we still do things the same way because it’s the only way that makes sense to us. Export mushrooms to France and Denmark We’ve already been contacted by people who want to introduce more industrialized production methods, but we said no, “Aeon said.
“We always said that if we had to do something for money, it wouldn’t work. In our case, we love what we do, be careful and affectionate. And do it with dedication, and it plays a big role in the end result. “
The harsh nature of work means that there are few holidays or even holidays. But seeing their project come to fruition is a testament to them that they have made the right decision.
“It’s a very rewarding feeling. It motivates us and proves to us that we can’t give up after we’ve come this far,” Aeon said.
So what’s ahead of Grib now that it’s settled in the Algarve?
“We don’t just produce fresh mushrooms,” Aeon assured.
“Our next step is to create mushroom supplements, then mycelium-based biomaterials, and enter the world of mycelium-based meat substitutes,” he said. Is to move these ideas forward in the next few years.
“Urban agriculture is the future. All the space we (humans) destroyed to build a city can now be used to grow food, and we want to be part of it. . “
Where can I buy mushrooms?
Grib mushrooms can be ordered directly from the website and picked up at the store. The couple also sells mushrooms at Vivo Mercado, a weekly organic market in Lagos on Wednesday, and at Portimao’s Merceria Bio store.
Prices for online orders for Daily Harvest Mix start at € 8.
https://www.portugalresident.com/gribb-the-algarves-urban-organic-mushroom-farm/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=gribb-the-algarves-urban-organic-mushroom-farm Grib: Urban Organic Mushroom Farm in the Algarve