'Shroom boom: Why people can't get enough Tomball-grown exotic mushrooms

TOMBALL, Texas (KTRK) -- Michael Frederick of Lone Star Mushrooms really can't give a straight answer as to why Houstonians can't get enough of his locally-grown mushrooms.

Maybe it's the vibrant colors? The interesting textures? The health benefits?

Either way, his biggest problem is figuring out how to grow them faster, which is a pretty good problem to have.

"It's phenomenal, I'm grateful for the growth we've had," he said.

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Two years ago, Frederick and his brothers took a leap of faith and decided to get into the mushroom growing business, specializing in fungi you typically won't find in the grocery store.

It all started on their kitchen table, then to the garage, and now inside a warehouse in Tomball.



Their biggest customers are local restaurants and at-home chefs looking to try something different in the kitchen.

Their product is in huge demand at local farmer's markets, where they usually have a line of customers and sell out quickly.

"I remember the first farmer's market we went to. The lady beside us, when it was all said and done and we sold out in 45 minutes, the lady said, 'I was going to say something like, 'Mushrooms? Who is going to buy that?'" Frederick said. "I was like, 'I'm glad you didn't because because I was thinking the same thing.'"

Lone Star Mushrooms is believed to be the largest grower of their specific types of mushrooms that include: Lion's mane, blue oyster, yellow oyster and shiitake mushrooms.

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Donald Harris grew up on a farm but called himself an urban farmer. All the work is done inside his rented space.



Getting to this point in their business didn't come easy, Frederick said.

Figuring out the process of growing the mushrooms was a challenge itself, and also trying to navigate slowing business during the pandemic didn't help.

Despite the many obstacles, Lone Star Mushrooms has survived and thrived, introducing the unique flavors to new taste buds across Houston.

"Some [customers] are completely clueless and some have knowledge," Frederick said. "It's fun because they'll look at the table and say, 'Is that cauliflower?'"

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