MUSHROOM WELLNESS Nirmal Nair, founder and CEO of Sempera Organics, displays some of the local indoor organic farm’s products in the front office of their Morgan Hill headquarters. Photo: Tarmo Hannula

The Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras returns for the 41st year this weekend, May 28-29—this time with a new “Platinum Sponsor,” local mushroom cultivator Sempera Organics.

Sempera Organics, located off Church Street, grows and processes “functional mushrooms” for a variety of wellness and cuisine purposes, says a press release. The company was founded in Morgan Hill in 2019 by CEO Nirmal Nair. 

As a leading sponsor of the Mushroom Mardi Gras, Sempera Organics is planning to host educational presentations and cooking demonstrations at the two-day festival in downtown Morgan Hill.

“Morgan Hill has a rich history of mushroom production,” Nair said. “It is widely considered the Mushroom Capital of the World, as Gilroy is to garlic.”

In addition to a booth at the MMG, Sempera Organics will host presentations from their own Chief Culinary Officer and two Michelin Star Chef Srijith Gopinathan, as well as Chief Mycologist, Dr. Dennis Desjardin, says the press release from Sempera Organics. Desjardin, professor emeritus at San Francisco State University, will share his knowledge on identifying native mushrooms found in California as well as tips on safe foraging.

Sempera Organics grows mushroom species such as cordyceps, reishi, chaga, turkey tail, lion’s mane, shitake, maitake and king oyster fungi. Demand and sales for these mushrooms and products that contain them have expanded in recent years, according to data from the American Botanical Council’s 2019 Herb Market Report.

In Santa Clara County, mushroom sales surpassed $80 million in 2018, making mushrooms the top selling crop that year, says the press release.

The MHMMG is hosted annually (except for pandemic-related cancellations in 2020 and 2021) by the local nonprofit Mushroom Mardi Gras Festival. Proceeds from the two-day event will pay for college scholarships for local high school students, and grants for local organizations.

The festival is centered at the grounds of the Morgan Hill Community & Cultural Center, 17000 Monterey Road. The event features two stages of live entertainment; dozens of food, arts, craft and merchandise vendors; strolling musicians and street performers; and a kids area.

Hours for the MMG are 10am-7pm May 28, and 10am-6pm May 29. Attendance is free. Parking is available at numerous public lots in and around downtown Morgan Hill.

For information, visit

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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