Hearty Growers' story
Hearty Growers is a story about a fresh start that resulted from founder, Terry, being furloughed for 9 months during the Covid pandemic. With no former farming background, Terry volunteered for a season with Biruk, his Ethiopian friend who ran Hahu Organics, an organic market garden at The Walled Garden, Helens Bay.
After picking up the basics of organic market gardening, permaculture and vermiculture, Terry and Judy took a leap of faith in December 2020 and, with some start-up support from Belfast City Council, started Hearty Growers.
Besides cultivating gourmet mushrooms and mushroom grow kits, Hearty Growers also prepare and serve mushroom-based food – mushroom pies, rolls, teas and low-alcohol mushroom beers by Fungtn.
Hearty Growers are proud to be a circular and sustainable business. They share 100% of the 'spent' mushroom compost they generate with surrounding community neighbours, customers, schools and community gardens. Far from being a waste product, the residual compost waste generated by mushroom production has become increasingly popular because it is so high in organic matter.
Useful learnings from Hearty Growers
"Practical advice for new companies is to do your research before making any major decisions and to understand how these decisions impact your end goals. If you are generating a lot of waste, then you want to revisit your raw materials and also the distances they come from to get to you. You may want to revisit your strategy as a result."
- Terry Vaz
Hearty Growers' metrics
Encouraging more people to eat and grow different kinds of mushrooms.
Number of local businesses supplied with our gourmet mushrooms.
Sales of our different mushroom-based products.
Volume of mushroom compost that we supply for customers to reuse.