The former Holden car assembly site at Elizabeth, South Australia has begun its newest chapter cultivating and processing mushrooms, with its operator Epicurean Food Group expecting onsite employee numbers to grow from 37 now to 350 around mid-2024.
A $110 million facility is currently producing about 20 tonnes per week of gourmet mushrooms in six growing rooms, with the site planned to produce 20,000 tonnes annually of mushroom and processed goods such as sausages based on them.
“We start with white oyster mushrooms, then we will go into shiitake, enoki and king oyster,” the ABC quoted Epicurean Food Group CEO Kenneth King as saying on Monday.
According to the company it will answer a need at supermarkets and restaurants for premium mushrooms, 85 per cent of which are imported.
“Few would have thought it possible transforming Holden’s old factory floor into a place where exotic mushrooms can be grown and cultivated but South Australians not only innovate, we lead the rest of the pack,” South Australian trade and investment minister Nick Champion said.
“Nothing like this facility exists interstate and we want to support local companies to expand and reach new customers on a national and global scale.”
GM Holden’s parent company General Motors announced in late-2013 that it would end production in Australia, with the last car made at Elizabeth on October 20, 2017.
Picture: Epicurean Food Group