One fellow who impressed us most when we visited Central Taiwan on May 28-June 1, 2019 is Steven Fang who founded the Magical Mushroom Tribe in 1993 in Changhua county when he was just 24 years old. Steven, who finished a Computer Engineering course, had his first job as an employee of a mushroom grower (now retired). Mushrooms fascinated him a lot so that he put up his own company with a clear vision of what he wanted to pursue. Today, Magical Mushroom Tribe is a very progressive company that churns ory but Steven will not admit that his is the biggest mushroom farm. What he likes most to emphasize is that he produces the best varieties of mushrooms that command a high price.
Fang said that the variety called White Fungus is really delicious and very expensive. One kilo costs the equivalent of P1,000 in Philippine money. Another bestseller is what is called King Oyster which does not look like the oyster mushroom that we grow in the Philippines. One kilo sells for 300 New Taiwan Dollars which is about P600. Another is Beauty Oyster which comes in clusters of dark mushrooms very unlike the oyster mushroom grown in the Philippines. The Gedicinal value.
Actually, Magical Mushroom Tribe maintains 12 varieties but only six are commercially produced at the moment, according to Steven. The fresh mushrooms and processed products are exported to various places around the world, including Japan, China, Russia, Europe, United States, Dubai, Africa, ASEAN and Australia.
The company does not limit itself to the sale of fresh mushrooms. It processes a lot of its harvest into high value items of food, medicine and beauty products. One of the most expensive products is an enzyme that is claimed to aid digestion in humans. One bottle of about 750 ml costs the equivalent of P4,000 in Philippine money. Other processed products from mushroom include facewash, face mask, mushroom juice drink, mushroom sauce, noodles, mushroom coffee, mushroom chips together with other vegetables and more.
The growing facilities are really high-tech. The huge growing houses are all air-conditioned, with one big building having a capacity of 600,000 fruiting bags. In order to get inside the growing house, one has to be sterilized by an air pressure. One has to wear a mask, robe, hair net and shoe net.
Magical Mushroom Tribe is also a tourist destination. Last year, about 20,000 visitors participated in do-it-yourself (DIY) recreational activities like pizza making with mushroom and other ingredients. The entrance fee is P200 in Philippine money but participating in DIY means additional fees. One can also enjoy mushroom shabu-shabu in their restaurant.