Kelowna, BC | 386 km from Lower Mainland
Raised in Sechelt, B.C., Tyler's foraging ways were imparted to him at a young age thanks to the close relationship he has with his mother, and his farming, hunting and gathering grandparents from Rock Creek, B.C. He heard about the Weighill brothers, from Nakusp in the B.C. Interior, two brothers who were exporting highly prized matsutake (pine mushrooms) to Japan, and shipping chanterelles and morels to Europe. “I had been on the foraging circuit for a while and knew of them. I was impressed on how they ran their business, cared about people, developed relationships,” Gray recalls. “They were just great people. I came in when there wasn’t much of a domestic market [for mushrooms]. We were—and still are—dismayed that wild North American foraged mushrooms are being exported to other countries, when you can hardly find these treasures here in our own grocery stores.”
Today, Mikuni Wild Harvest has grown into a unique, in-demand B.C. business that's spread to the U.S. that sources and markets foraged foods, specialty vegetables, and exotic fruits together with premium condiments like oils, vinegars, and syrups, and supplies them to North America’s top chefs, including superstars Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Eric Ripert, and our own David Hawksworth, Andrea Carlson, David Gunawan and Pino Posteraro.
As Gray explains, “Foraging gives you a different relationship with nature. You’re more interactive, you’re really engaged, and your eyes are fully open. You see the landscape and the environment with a completely different view. A lot of what we walk by is food. It’s delicious healthy, flavourful, and honest food that you can find anywhere.”