East End Mushroom Company celebrates Cutchogue opening

John Quigley shows off the new East End Mushroom Company facility. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

John Quigley shows off the new East End Mushroom Company facility. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Growing mushrooms.

That doesn’t sound too hard, right?

Think again.

“MacGyver built this place,” joked John Quigley.

He was describing The East End Mushroom Company’s new state-of-the art, indoor, mushroom growing facility. 

Mr. Quigley and partner Jane Maguire officially opened the East End Mushroom Company in a storefront on Cox Lane in Cutchogue Saturday. Southold Supervisor Scott Russell led a ribbon-cutting ceremony .

The mushrooms are sold in the storefront at the North Fork Commons complex (off Route 48). Behind the scenes, the mushrooms are grown in a room on-site on little “artificial trees” made of hay or straw and kept on shelves.

“It’s all now computerized,” Mr. Quigley said. “I can operate this from home. I used to have to come up here at 10:30 at night.”

The air in the mushroom-growing room is recirculated 100 percent every five minutes. Every eight hours a filter needs to be replaced on the machine that circulates the air, he said.

The room must be at 95-percent humidity and the mushrooms are watered hydroponically.

Partners Jane Maguire and John Quigley. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Partners Jane Maguire and John Quigley. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

“There’s no dirt, there’s no chemicals. It’s as organic as you can get without being certified,” Mr. Quigley said.

He and Ms. Maguire have been in the mushroom-growing business for more than two years and already sell their product at restaurants and farm stands. They say they are already the largest mushroom grower on Long Island, and they are already planning to expand their Cutchogue site.

The new Cutchogue location is their initial foray into retail sales, and the store will be open initially from Thursday to Saturday from 10 a.m to 2 p.m., Mr. Quigley said.

The Riverhead Farmers Market helped them build a market.

“For young companies starting out, it’s a great opportunity,” Mr. Quigley said of the farmers market.

They first got introduced to the idea of growing mushrooms by a friend about three years ago, Ms. Maguire said.

“We said, ‘OK, let’s give it a shot,’ ” Mr. Quigley said. “It didn’t work out for him, but we kept going.”

Mushrooms grow on "artificial trees" made of hay or straw. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Mushrooms grow on “artificial trees” made of hay or straw. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

They currently grow eight types of mushrooms: shiitake, blue oyster, maitake, white and brown beech, king oyster, crimini and Piopino.

Restaurants they sell to include: Topping Rose House, Almond, Nick & Toni’s, Vine Street Cafe, Rowdy Hall, Noah’s, North Fork Table & Inn, Frisky Oyster, Love Lane Kitchen, Touch of Venice, Grana and Claudio’s.

Mr. Quigley says they plan to sell mushrooms to some restaurants in New York City as well.

“As little as we are and as young as we are, we’ve never had so much fun,” he said.

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell cuts the ribbon Saturday morning. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell cuts the ribbon Saturday morning. (Credit: Tim Gannon)