Katrina Atkinson and Daniel Tibbet, founders of Mountaintop Mushrooms, have decided to close their gourmet mushroom business. The couple crowdfunded in 2017 to establish their business on the Sunshine Coast hinterland, growing an array of colorful fungi in a century-old pineapple packing shed. Their unique oyster mushrooms and other varieties were highly sought after by local chefs and markets.
However, the business has been affected by a series of challenges. Their infrastructure was failing, weather-related crop losses were frequent, they needed to relocate from their rented shed, and balancing a demanding business with a young child became overwhelming. "Because it's so wet and so misty, I've had electrical faults with the air conditioning when it's rained for days and days, and … it's just cut out," said Tibbet. "That was kind of the nail in the coffin — [we] just decided it's too much to deal with these losses anymore."
Atkinson, who has been working off-farm for Barung Landcare, added, "The change in the economy has definitely made things a bit trickier. It just was too much for one little young family like ours to pull off." Despite the challenges, they do not regret their venture into gourmet mushroom farming.