Gabe Staats is one of the few people in Australia that grows his mushrooms from scratch, right down to the spore.
The father-of-two dived into the mushroom trade in 2013 at his Glenore Cottage Farm near Guyra.
“When I first started the business I was working everyday,” he told The Argus.
“In the mushroom business you can either buy the spores, or mycelium, and they then grow on a grain.
“I grow the mycelium on petri dishes with an agar mix.
“I grow Oyster Mushrooms and they can grow on different sorts of straw including wheat, rye and I use organic sugarcane mulch.
“My Shiitake Mushrooms grow on hardwood sawdust.
“There are very few people that do the whole process from scratch.”
Mr Staats said he used to produce about 40 kilograms a week but has knocked it back to 25.
“At the time I had the dream of a family-run business but after the first year I quickly realised my kids weren’t too interested,” he joked.
“It could have gone much bigger but I didn’t want to become a slave … I still wanted to be a father and have balance.”
Each week Mr Staats has one day of lab work, two days of transferring the spores to sugar cane, one day transferring to sawdust and another day of harvesting.
“We moved up here initially because I always liked living out in the bush,” he said.
“We wanted to start up a family business and have a farm.
“I was a chef for 20 years and always enjoyed working with food and I wanted to try and grow a specialty product.”
Mr Staats travelled around the world as a chef for 16 years.
“I travelled over 46 countries and learnt all these different languages,” he said.
When he first started, he was taught primarily in classic French cuisine.
You can find Mr Staats Shiitake and Oyster mushrooms at weekend farmers markets across the region.
He will also be throwing together some omlettes at the Trout Festival’s Saturday markets using Working With Nature eggs and the Guyra Tomato farm’s tomatoes.
“I put in some feta and herbs as well,” he said.
Mr Staats will also be providing his special recipe sausages with two flavours including pork, fennel and mushroom and lamb, mint and pea. “It’s almost like a Sunday roast,” he said.