There is an endless amount of true entrepreneurial start-up stories that have arisen during this ongoing pandemic.
Hearty Growers is a result of Terry being furloughed for 9 months as a luxury cruise-holiday consultant. With no former farming background, Terry began to volunteer with Biruk, his Ethiopian friend who manages Hahu Organics, an organic market garden at The Walled Garden, Helens Bay.
After picking up the basics of organic market gardening, a bit of permaculture, and vermiculture, Terry began to research on growing oyster mushrooms from home, which later turned into a full-blown indoor vertical mushroom farm in one of their spare rooms at home.
By December 202o, Terry was made redundant and Hearty Growers was born, Terry and Judy took a leap of faith, along with some fantastic start-up support from Belfast City Council, and signed a commercial lease with Portview Trade centre in January 2021.
Hearty Growers now supply almost a dozen greengrocers, butchers, and gourmet food retailers. With restaurants beginning to open up, they now have partnered up with top city restaurants like Hadskis, James St South and 44 Hill Street and funky cafe's like Freight Eastside Containers and Lisburn Road.
Besides cultivating fresh gourmet mushrooms, Hearty Growers also offer Oyster Mushroom grow kits ranging from Pink, Yellow/Gold, Grey to Indian Oyster Mushrooms. and have plans to offer a 1 Day gourmet mushroom growing course at their mushroom farm which will give potential growers a hands-on low-tech method of growing their own gourmet mushrooms at home on a small scale.