Margin’s Mushrooms started off as a bit of an experiment to see if Kim & Christine' cool room from their old ice cream factory would be suitable to grow mushrooms.
On the way through this journey they met Neal Marlan a third generation mushroom farmer whose family had been in the commercial mushroom farming business almost from the start of the industry. Neal was very kind and took the time to show Kim & Christine their state of the art farm.
This was the inspiration to do a lot better job of setting up the rooms than they were originally going to do. Having invested so much time into getting a reasonably good set up in which to grow mushrooms, it was then important to learn how to grow them.
Kim & Chris put in the effort, had some successes and failures and great support from the industry and of course Neal Marlan.
Kim states: 'I always read a lot. I used to read Australia history, war history, novels and the newspaper every day. For the last few years all I read is mushroom cultivation books, back issues of the Australian Mushroom Growers Association magazine, online information and articles on mushrooms.'
In June 2011 operation were expanded into the old Woy Woy Abattoirs which had been closed and unused for 7-8 years.
The whole family jumped in and helped with the set up. Christine finished her work managing a coffee shop and joined the business full time. Their eldest son Charlie held his part time job but worked full time on the mushroom farm. Their youngest son George was doing his final year at school so he was hard to get hold of but helped out whenever he could.
They had a team going for a couple of months. Fred Nichols the owner of the abattoirs pitched in and helped every day, Kim's mother made lunches for everyone and his father helped all day everyday for months while they recycled the cool rooms into their mushroom farm.
The first crop was produced in 2011 rolling out room 2 about a month later. After a few more months room 3 was commissioned with room 4 following soon.
Along the way the whole family have continued to tune up their mushroom growing skills. Kim & Christine have a collaborative approach to this where they discuss their growing decision so we all benefit from the experience.