Red Fox Fungi grows gourmet mushrooms (primarily for local restaurants), as well as craft seasoning blends. Janine Aube runs the company alongside her business partner, Brad.
AOTP: How did you get into mushroom farming?
JA: My business partner Brad and I started farming mushrooms one year ago after we saw the demand for fresh farm ingredients increasing in Calgary and area restaurants. We also realized that with more and more people looking to eat healthier and reduce or eliminate animal protein from their diets we could provide a great local solution.
In Fall 2018, Brad and I started building our lab and first fruiting room in order to teach ourselves how to grow mushrooms and test whether it was a viable crop in our climate. Our first winter was full of ups and downs, failures, and a huge learning curve, especially since we were both working full-time jobs. Having said that we found the challenge incredibly rewarding and realized that we are a great team so buckled down and got our very first grocery store and chef customers.
In the Spring of 2019 with the help of ATB, we were able to expand our operations allowing us to continue to farm year-round and grow our business. We are committed to safe and eco-conscious farming practices. We actively aim to lessen our farms’ impact on the environment and strive to give back more than we take away. We pay fair wages, hire local youth, and fundraise for Kids Cancer Care. We are committed to the process of being certified naturally grown. We are young farmers and new to farming so every day brings something new for us, but we are incredibly good at rolling with the punches. For a prime example in April 2019 when we were hit with an incredible Alberta winter storm Brad and I called it a day, there was nothing much we could do but wait it out and see what happened. Fast forward a couple of hours, and a couple of local Alberta beverages, and Brad said “I should go sit on the hammock”…..not one to miss provoking the giant (Brad is 6’7″…I’m 5’3”) I said “Yes, you should”….and Brad’s Instagram stardom followed the video I took! To this day it’s our most popular post, just doing goofy farm stuff.
AOTP: What does your operation look like now?
JA: We have now expanded and our products can be found at Community Natural Foods, Blushlane Organic Market, Cultivatr.ca, Rusticana Grocery, Okotoks Natural Foods, Bruhe, The Coup, Allium, Tapas Canmore, Banff Park Lodge and many more restaurants!
We have expanded and now also make small craft batch seasoning blends. We are very excited that our new building has allowed us the ability to shift our business during these times and expand into seasoning blends in order to keep our farm operational.
AOTP: What types of fungi and seasonings do you currently have?
JA: We grow numerous species of tree-loving mushrooms year-round. This includes King Oyster, Golden Oyster, Blue Oyster, Pearl Oyster, Phoenix Oyster, Lion’s Mane, Chestnut, Pioppino, and more to come! There is “no-poo” in our facility, we only grow mushrooms that would grow on the side of a tree or root in the wild. We also have 3 craft batch seasonings that we make with our dehydrated mushrooms. These are “Everything Everyday”, “Spicy”, and “Savory BBQ”. We call our blends “The Secret Ingredient” because they don’t actually taste like mushrooms, they actually add all that rich umami savory that mushrooms have to anything you cook them with!
AOTP: How can people purchase your products?
JA: Consumers can find us at the above grocers or at the Airdrie Farmers Market Weds 330-7 pm or Cochrane Farmers Market Sat’s 9-2 pm. Chefs and Wholesale inquiries can be directed to email@example.com.
For optimum freshness, we only service Calgary, Banff, Canmore, Airdrie, Cochrane, Strathmore, and Okotoks areas [for our mushroom sales]. Our Seasoning Blends can be purchased for wholesale Alberta wide.