Sustainability and all that……
We’ve always been serious about sustainability, a company with a purpose.
Long before the word had entered the public consciousness, we were running sustainable businesses. Sue has been a lifelong vegetarian, and very healthy thank you. Jane was one of the founder-owners of the well known and first UK organic baby food brand Baby Organix .
We started a wholesale mushroom business in 2000 under the Fundamentally Fungus brand but refused to supply mushrooms picked from the wild at a time when cultivated mushrooms were somehow seen as inferior (very definitely not!)
Why make life so difficult for ourselves? Because we care. Because not only are wild mushrooms suffering the same declines seen throughout the natural world, they are so poorly studied and documented we may be losing species not yet known. Not only that, the fungal kingdom has been responsible for providing many of the antibiotics and medicines widely used today and we have only just begun to appreciate the value of this irreplaceable pharmaceutical treasure chest.
Sadly there is plenty of evidence that overpicking is taking its toll. Undersized girolles sold as mini girolles are immature, small mushrooms from a weak mycelium patch. Please do not buy mini wild mushrooms, you are accelerating their demise.
Modern British chefs, though they may have their roots in classic French cuisine, no longer believe in ‘only wild mushrooms’, and appreciate the wide range and quality of cultivated types giving them scope for inventive new dishes.
In the early 2000’s the very high quality we needed for chefs was simply not available so we built four small growing rooms and learned to grow our own. Over the years we have grown oysters (all colours), shiitake, blewits, velvet caps, shimeji white and brown, wood ears, maitake (Hen of the Woods) , eryngii, pom poms.
Gradually other growers from Holland, Germany, Italy and Spain began to build up knowledge and production volumes. We have supported them all the way. Now with the quality we need from full time growers who understand our specifications, we only grow the occasional batches of unusual or difficult to transport types. We got our weekends back!
In the meantime too, Chinese and South Korean growers, who have always been at the forefront of research and knowledge about mushroom production, have invested heavily in the industry with high quality, organic controlled facilities, automation and new varieties. They too are long time suppliers. We are all learning from them.
Gradually, we added other sustainably produced fresh foods from suppliers who are as committed to sustainable goals as we are and now we have a small but very high quality range of fish, beef, pork, venison, micro leaves, berries and honey which meet our stringent standards.
And we have evolved from Fungus Girls to
And here we are 20 years later.
We still have loads of lovely customers, even some of our original ones.
And not only have many chefs gone on the become household names, those that worked for them throughout those years have come back to us. Most of our new customers are referrals. Thank you chefs, that’s the biggest compliment we can have.
We are constantly seeking out ethical producers who care about heritage varieties, regenerative and organic cultivation, traditional production methods & breeds, high tech but low impact production technologies. If you are one, please call us.
In 2015 the United Nations produced a set of Sustainable Development Goals which are a blueprint for what we need to achieve as a global nation, to mitigate the effects of climate change, eliminate poverty and inequality and restore diversity to the natural world.
We’re all in the food business… let’s do the energy stuff and minimise waste but now we need to focus on food production. Your choices as chefs influence people. Choose to be a sustainability hero.
If you care about the impact of your business and want to do all you can to minimise your footprint, each of these broad goals have a set of practical objectives that you can pick that are appropriate for your business and life. We can’t do everything but we all can do something and make a difference. What kind of world do you want to leave behind?
You can find them on https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals