ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — A Rochester company took third place in the GROW – NY competition, winning them $250,000. The competition receives submissions from all over the world. Leep Foods grows mushrooms using all organic material and is in a small industrial park outside of Rochester.
“This is the base ingredient,” said Luke Luft, the production manager and mycologist, pointing to hardwood pellets from Arcade in Wyoming County. Those pellets are soaked in water to create dust. It gets mixed with other ingredients like organic grains from Penn Yan. The bags, or blocks, are then heated to over 200°F.
“The whole point of the bag is to make an artificial log inside the bag that you know is going to do exactly what you want,” said Luft. The bag is then injected with Mycelium and put into a dark chamber to sit for several weeks to a few months depending on the strand.
CEO of Leep Foods Jeff Adair says that these mushrooms stand out from your typical store bought mushroom. “We grow ours on American hardwoods, and it gives it a distinct flavor,” said Adair. “We grow blue oyster and we grow lions mane.”
As 2020 continues to keep people home from restaurants, Leep Foods products in the grocery store have been growing in popularity, not to mention the increasing awareness of the health benefits that come with mushrooms. “During the time we went through our first wave of COVID19 our sales in our retail stores actually went way up,” said Adair.
The product can be found in some Wegmans and Tops stores. The company also partners with others like Palmer to blend some mushroom products into meat.