In the heart of Chicago, two ambitious Gen Z entrepreneurs have cultivated a local business dedicated to growing gourmet mushrooms, transforming an indoor urban farm into a go-to supplier for exotic mushrooms throughout the area.
Joe Weber and Sean DiGioia, lifelong friends with a shared concern for environmental issues, embarked on this venture just before the pandemic. Initially facing challenges, their business gained traction when the world-renowned Michelin-starred restaurant Alinea started incorporating their products. Now, they are recognized as the premier mushroom farm supplying exotic varieties to restaurants and retailers.
The indoor urban farm offers a unique experience with gourmet mushroom varieties such as Chestnut, Blue Oyster, Black Oyster, and Lions Mane. Weber and DiGioia focus on sustainability and regenerative farming, utilizing organic by-products like sawdust and spent brewers' grain as substrate—essentially, the food or soil for mushrooms to thrive indoors.
"We take organic by-products from different industries, turn that into mushroom food, and, in turn, we are growing a superfood," explained Weber.
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