According to a recent report from ABC News, Epicurean Food Group, an Australian producer, has begun building a new $110 million facility at the plant to grow mushrooms. Currently, it is estimated that six growing rooms will produce 20 tons of mushrooms a week starting in late February. From there, output is expected to grow to an estimated 20,000 tons of mushrooms and mushroom products per year until mid-2024.
“We start with white oyster mushrooms, then we will go into shiitake, enoki and king oyster,” said Epicurean Food Group chief executive officer Kenneth King. “When I’m finished here, with the real estate that I’ve taken on, I will produce around 600 tons of mushrooms a week. [We want to] introduce a lot of the population to the product, bring it to the menu, bring it to their daily consumption because they’re very healthy. But also, we value-add – we make burgers and balls and sausages, crumble, meals, and that gives us the ability to freeze them down and export.”
As of the time of this writing, the workforce consists of 37 full-time employees, which includes a few former Holden employees. The entire workforce is expected to expand to 350 employees in a little over a year.
“I’ve got a number of ex-Holden people and they’re wonderful workers. They’ve been really well received,” King said.
When the new facility is completed, King claims that it will be the largest mushroom farm in Australia.
“This will be the only truly professional-style exotic mushroom farm in the country,” King said. “There are lots of others, but no one has ever gone to the extent that I have. In Australia … the industry has never had the ability to grow 52 weeks of the year, so we look for some real strong growth based upon the fact that we can provide right across the spectrum.
As a brief reminder, GM shuttered the Holden brand as a whole in Australia and New Zealand back in 2020.