Dec 23, 2020
It all began in 1973, when Jeff Chilton went to work at Ostrom Mushroom Farms in Olympia Washington.
Jeff quickly worked his way up to Grower and ultimately Production Manager. At that time Ostroms was producing over 2 million pounds of fresh Agaricus mushrooms per year and was at the cutting edge of new technologies, including what were then known as specialty mushrooms.
A Japanese scientist on staff, Dr. Takashi Urayama, implemented an R+D program which grew Shiitake, Oyster and Enoki mushrooms. Shiitake production was scaled up and fresh shiitake were introduced to the local market in 1978. This was the first fresh shiitake sold on a large scale in the U.S.
Exposure to these new mushroom species as well as a Fellowship to the Dutch School for Mushroom Growers in 1976 gave Jeff a much broader outlook on the mushroom industry and influenced his future path. In 1983, after 10 years of commercial mushroom growing experience, Jeff co-authored and published the classic, bestselling book on small-scale mushroom cultivation, The Mushroom Cultivator.
That same year he moved his family to British Columbia to start a mushroom spawn laboratory and small speciality mushroom growing facility. By 1989, after much research, it became clear that many of the specialty mushrooms had beneficial properties and this was the wave of the future.
In 1989 Jeff made his first trip to China to attend the International Society for Mushroom Science’s (ISMS) conference in Nanjing and he discovered the depth of mushroom knowledge and production capacity that China offered.
The relationships Jeff built over the next 10 years laid the foundation that made Nammex a leader in the new category of health promoting mushrooms. This same year, 1989, Nammex was founded.