People love foraged mushrooms — now, there’s an app for that

Interest in foraged food is blooming, including on an app that connects foragers with buyers.

Rooting around the $5 cheese bin at the grocery store is kind of like foraging, right? But seriously, there’s a market for those who know how to find edible plants in the wild.

Mushrooms alone — the eating kind, not the tripping kind — are a $13B market, according to Jack Hamrick, co-founder of Foraged, a digital marketplace for foragers to connect with buyers.

Hamrick told TechCrunch he was trying to buy a “chicken of the woods” — a mushroom some think tastes like chicken — when he connected with Andy Conner, who was trying to unload 10 pounds of seaweed.

The pair launched Foraged in 2021, which has since attracted sellers hawking produce, oils, spices, and more.

Foraged says sales are growing 434% quarter over quarter. For now, the platform takes 10% per order. The average cart total is ~$120.

Who buys foraged goods?

Mostly upscale restaurants that want to impress customers with their field- or woods-to-table menus.

One forager described his $200/hour side hustle foraging wild mushrooms for chefs, while Bryan Jessop told Business Insider he quit his job as an economics consultant to forage for Bay Area restaurants.

But home cooks are getting in on Earth’s bounty, too. Interest in foraging blossomed on TikTok amid the pandemic and knowledgeable creators amassed large followings.

Alexis Nikole Nelson, for example, teaches 3.4m followers how to find edible weeds, herbs, flowers, and more to turn into meals. Education is key, because eating plants you find willy-nilly can still kill you, even if it’s on-trend.

But depending on where you live, some choice ‘shrooms may not grow nearby, making Foraged a solid option if you’ve just gotta make this chicken (of the woods) noodle soup.

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