MONTREAL -- Some of the best mushrooms in the city are grown in a place you might least expect.

Les 400 Pieds de Champignons has been harvesting speciality mushrooms out of a 400-square-foot space in Cote-des-Neiges.

The production space is small, but the product is far from it.

"There's something special about mushrooms that if you look at them, and then an hour later, you look at them again, they're almost doubled in size," said co-founder Michael Loyer.


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At the Cote-des-Neiges operation mushrooms are grown from spores, or liquid culture, form what's called mycelium on a petri dish in a sterile lab and then transferred onto grain.

Mushrooms are tricky to grow as contamination from bacteria or other fungi could ruin an entire batch.

Loyer started the company a year ago with two friends, and their shared passion has turned into an obsession.

"It's something that you start and then you really go crazy," he said.

Fungi thrive in 85-92 per cent humidity and soak up 12 hours of spectrum light a day.

"We change the air in this place every two minutes," said Loyer.

The result: upwards of 250 pounds of mushrooms a week that are sold to restaurants and markets around the city.

The process takes one to four months.

The growers have already outgrown their lab and have plans to expand and produce nine varieties and 800 pounds of mushrooms a week.

"We harvest the same day we deliver, so you don't get fresher than that," said Loyer.