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Source: morganhilltimes

Ag meets tech at Sempera Organics

February 25, 2022

Nirmal Nair is a “techie” in his professional background, but he has always been a “foodie” with a strong interest in health and wellness. This combination of abilities and passion led him to start Sempera Organics mushroom farm in Morgan Hill about 18 months ago.

Operating out of a modest industrial warehouse space off Church Street, Sempera Organics doesn’t produce the kind of mushrooms that you might slice freshly into your salad. The biotech startup produces “functional mushrooms” that contain medicinal or nutritional properties that promote health, explained Nair, the founder, and CEO of Sempera Organics.

“These mushrooms are very well known in ancient cultures for having very strong benefits for people,” Nair said.

Mushroom varieties grown and processed at Sempera Organics include lion’s mane, chaga, reishi, turkey tail and cordyceps. Benefits of these fungi include improved mental clarity, enhanced energy, immunity and deep sleep, Nair said.

These and other mushroom varieties have been valued for their health-inducing active ingredients for generations in Asia—particularly in China and Japan, Nair added. They have even been prescribed as medicine. But the market is just starting to grow in the U.S., and Sempera Organics is poised to make its mark.

The Morgan Hill company grows all its mushrooms in its vertical “lab farm,” explained Nair. Bags of feedstock are injected with mycelium, which grows into mushrooms in the compact space.

The mushrooms are dehydrated and processed—ground up into powders—on site, and packaged for shipment to Sempera Organics’ clients. The farm’s products, retaining the mushrooms’ active ingredients, are sold to other companies that use them as ingredients in food, beverages, dietary supplements and cosmetics, Nair added.

The facility and its products are certified organic, non-GMO, vegan and as sustainable as a farm can get, producing “zero waste,” Nair said. 

The mushroom powders produced at Sempera can even be infused into coffee and tea—a particularly growing market—or sprinkled in soups or omelets, Nair said.

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