Tiroler Bio Pilze
The company Tiroler Bio Pilze has recognised the value of this food and has dedicated itself entirely to mushroom cultivation.
Many things in today’s world came into being because of fungi. They are among the first living creatures on earth that evolved on land. Today, some species find their way into the kitchen, where they are processed into delicious dishes. However, spore plants are also used in construction or fashion, for example. The company Tiroler Bio Pilze has recognised the value of this foodstuff and has dedicated itself entirely to mushroom cultivation.
Cornelia Plank, managing director of Tiroler Bio Pilze, founded the company in 2014 in Thaur, 15 minutes from Innsbruck. While the company had six greenhouses and only eight employees at the beginning, today it already has twelve greenhouses and about 40 employees. In the future, another twelve halls are to be added in Mils and dozens of jobs created in order to double production. In spring 2020, Myzelia Produktions- und Vertriebs GmbH was also founded, which acts as a distribution partner for Tyrolean organic mushrooms. The Tyrolean company is already the market leader in Austria as far as the primary production of organic mushrooms is concerned. ‚My aim was to have something special: There were plenty of radishes and lettuce – but mushrooms from Tyrol? That was something new,‘ says Plank.
Aromatic, rich in vitamins and versatile
Three tons: This is how much Tiroler Bio Pilze produces per day. The local food retail trade is supplied daily with mushrooms, portobellos, oyster mushrooms, herb boletus and shiitake under the respective organic brands. The fungi – as they are called in botany – have a unique quality and are perfect for frying, steaming, deep-frying, grilling or boiling. They are firm to the bite and leave less water in the pan than conventional mushrooms. They also have an intense aroma and valuable vitamins. The highest possible quality is guaranteed by the optimal climate, clear mountain air and fresh Tyrolean spring water. ‚My inner attitude simply says: organic is what people deserve to get on their plates,‘ says Plank. But the spore plants are not only used in the kitchen. With MY-CO SPACE 2021, for example, a building made of wood, straw and mushrooms was created. In the fashion sector, designer Iris van Herpen ventured to develop a bag made of organic ‚mushroom leather‘. This consists of a vegan, leather-like fabric made of mushroom mycelium – the net-like fibres of a mushroom cell.
Mushroom cultivation – effort that pays off
‚Producing a high-quality organic product that people feel pleasure from when they eat it: That is the real reward of the work‚, says Plank. There is plenty of work with the mushrooms. Mushroom cultivation requires a high level of commitment day and night and, above all, adaptability. Since the mushrooms are very sensitive to the climate, the staff always have to make sure that the temperature and humidity are perfect. It is important to recreate the conditions that prevail in the forest in the greenhouses. This makes mushroom cultivation a real art, but one that is enjoyable, as mushroom grower Harrie van Gruijthuijsen describes it: ‚No two days are the same. But that’s also what makes this job so exciting, in my opinion.‚ All the effort ultimately leads to crunchy mushrooms with an intense flavour – all year round.
Sustainability from harvest to retail
The sustainable way to the tasty mushrooms is evident both in the production and in the subsequent processing. The company operates so-called ‚vertical farming‘. This is an innovative and soil-friendly method of cultivation in beds in large racks, using compost made from straw and organic material. Every day, everyone involved does a lot of manual work, whether selecting, picking, cutting or weighing the mushrooms. To guarantee the best possible organic quality, the fungi are checked again during packaging. The transport routes are then kept short and the mushrooms reach the shops fresh within 24 hours.
Regional circular economy
For Tyrolean organic mushrooms, however, sustainability does not end with the harvest. Since the cut stems of mushrooms are considered residual products, they are not in demand in the trade. The company therefore takes them to the Stipplerhof in the Ötztal or Grünegger-Müller Hof in Mils near Hall, where the organic leftovers are fed to pigs. This results in a win-win situation, as the leftovers do not have to be thrown away and the animals get a healthy diet. The sustainable circular economy in the region is completed by the subsequent soil improvement. After the harvest, the residual substrate from mushroom cultivation ends up on the farmers‘ fields.
Mushroom cultivation is a complex subject, but if done correctly it can be profitable for many areas, as the example of Tyrolean organic mushrooms shows. The challenge is also special for Cornelia Plank: ‚We don’t produce sockets on a conveyor belt, but we really work with a natural product and that is not the same every day.‘
Tiroler Bio Pilze is a member of the Green Filming Database Marktplace Tirol. There you will find products and services from regional and sustainable Tyrolean companies that can be used for your film production.
Moreoever, the company Tiroler Bio Pilze is a ‚Natürlich in Tirol‘ success story. Lebensraum Tirol Holding, in cooperation with its subsidiaries (Tirol Tourist Board, Standortagentur Tirol and Agrarmarketing Tirol), brings special companies, projects, initiatives and people before the curtain. What they all have in common is that they play a pioneering role and act as role models for sustainability and responsible business. They contribute to the sustainability of the Tyrolean economy, society and environment and encourage the dissemination of sustainable change concepts. You can find more ‚Natürlich in Tirol‘ success stories here (in German only).