Two women in Montreal have decided to launch into mushroom production using kitchen waste from local restaurants. From the outside, Blanc de Gris looks rather banal, but inside are 6 greenhouses housing pleurote mushrooms. Dominique Lynch-Gauthier, the young woman in her 30’s behind the project, laughs when she says that she had never imagined she would wind up growing mushrooms!
Blanc de Gris’ mushrooms grow in buckets with holes in the sides piled up one on top of the other. They can harvest about 200kg a week as the mushrooms in the 1,200 recipients are all at various stages of growth. The temperature and humidity must be precisely regulated to achieve their quality product.
Lysiane Roy-Maheu works alongside her friend and takes care of the company’s sales and marketing. She was attracted to the environmentally-friendly aspect of the project, the concept of a circular economy, using waste to produce food.
Blanc de Gris relies on coffee grounds from many local restaurants as well as spent brewers grains from a bar in the area (residue produced by the fermentation of cereals). For example, when Lysiane delivers their mushrooms to one of her restaurants, she doesn’t leave empty handed, taking their coffee grounds with her. Chef, Julien Laporte, is very pleased with the product, “we tried the mushrooms, that we thought were exceptional. They’re nothing like the pleurotes that you can buy at the stores. It is a crunchier mushroom, that has a hazelnut taste”.
Blanc de Gris supplies thirty or so restaurants and hopes to increase their clientele. They are also developing new products, such as marinated mushrooms, for consumers.