Ozark Forest Mushrooms is putting down some city roots.
The gourmet mushroom outfit, which currently operates from its farm in Timber, Missouri, will open a new facility in St. Louis' Fox Park neighborhood at 2616 Shenandoah Ave.
The expansion is certainly influenced by owner Nicola Macpherson's son, Henry Macpherson Hellmuth – Macpherson says the business has become a mother-and-son operation. With a master's degree in plant science from University of California, Davis, his interest is more focused on growing gourmet mushrooms – such as lion's mane, oyster and chestnut – in controlled environments. The new facility will allow Ozark Forest to expand production of these mushroom varietals while Macpherson continues growing her signature shiitakes on oak logs on the farm.
People are also reading…
With a location in the city, Macpherson says the mushrooms will be even more fresh, reducing travel distances to the markets where they sell and to their customers' doorsteps. Plus, it will gradually start the process of Macpherson Hellmuth eventually taking over the business.
"It also gives my son his little area of expertise, and gives him something that's separate from me," Macpherson says. "It's also kind of a good way to retire, too, slowly. The exit plan!"
And while plans are in motion, don't expect to see the facility ready anytime soon. The building needs to be almost entirely rehabbed, including a new roof. But when it does open, the space will also feature a retail front for customers to pick up their mushrooms.
"It's exciting," Macpherson says. "We're right near all the highways, all the restaurants. We love Fox Park as a neighborhood."
Ozark Forest Mushrooms, ozarkforest.com