Nikk George is owner of Fancy Fungi. Fancy Fungi supplies Ferrycarrig Hotel with mushrooms. I caught up with Nikk to chat to him about Fancy Fungi.
Nikk has been supplying to the Ferrycarrig Hotel for 15 years.
‘’Using local producers means the mushrooms are as fresh as can be, when the mushrooms come in from Holland or France they are already 4 days old before they get to the kitchen. My mushrooms can be picked and delivered to the kitchen in the same day’’ Says Nikk George
Fancy Fungi started about 18 years ago. It started it off as hobby of mine. I am originally a physical therapist. I used to pick wild mushrooms and a friend of mine who owns a restaurant asked me if I could pick mushrooms for his restaurant, my hobby quickly turned in to a new career. I loved working with mushrooms and the demand for local mushrooms grew. The mushrooms I grow here were not available in Ireland 18 years ago so I saw a gap in the market, I brought my mushrooms to chefs and they loved them!
The tunnels are 65m long and 50m wide where we keep grow the mushrooms.
How many types of mushrooms do you grow here?
We grow 5 types here. Grey Oyster Mushrooms, Golden Oyster Mushrooms, Pink Oyster Mushrooms, Beach Mushrooms and Shiitake Mushrooms. We import mushrooms too.
What is the most popular mushroom?
Grey Oyster is the most popular; we grow a lot of that here.
What do mushrooms need to help them grow?
Mushrooms need food! Our mushrooms are grown on wheat straw and saw dust. We don’t add any chemicals or additives to our mushrooms. Mushrooms also need a lot of heat water & humidity. Our tunnels are kept at 90% humidity all the time. They can be quite complicated to grow so it’s very interesting growing them.
How many mushrooms would you pick from each batch?
We always get a different amount. The mushrooms are sealed in a bag and grow outwards. We hand pick all of the mushrooms. The bags are compressed in a machine and this is the shape they come out like.
Does the weather outside have a lot of impact on the mushrooms in the tunnels?
Yes! If it’s freezing outside we have to heat the tunnels to make sure the mushrooms are still warm. We need to make sure that the oxygen levels are kept high because if the Carbon Dioxide levels go up it will deform the mushrooms. In the summertime we struggle to keep the heat down! If it’s too hot the mushrooms go crazy and grow too much and grow too quickly. May is a good month to grow mushrooms.
How long does it take mushrooms to grow?
All mushrooms are different. The Grey Oyster could take about 4 – 6 weeks to grow, Shiitake mushrooms could take up to 20 weeks to grow. During this time we need to make sure that the temperature is perfect for them and we need to constantly look after them.
How often do you plant mushrooms?
We constantly have a new batch of mushrooms growing.
Tell us about the different mushrooms?
The large beige mushrooms are velvet pioppini mushrooms, the yellow mushrooms are yellow oyster, the grey mushroom is grey oyster, the pink mushrooms are pink oyster mushrooms, the brown mushroom is Shiitake mushroom, and the white mushrooms are the beach mushrooms.
‘‘Here in Ferrycarrig Hotel and Reeds Restaurant we are delighted to be working with fantastic local producers around Wexford delivering great food from great people. With our unique location we guarantee a superb experience at Reeds restaurant where perfect taste flows’’ Derek Coyne (General Manager Ferrycarrig Hotel)