Misty Mountain Specialties
When David Lee Kwen founded Misty Mountain Specialties in 1997, the North American mushroom market was still in its infancy. The food service and retail consumers’ only choice was a great proliferation of white mushrooms — period. In those days, nobody had ever heard of shiitake and only hearty hillside hikers knew anything about chanterelle or morel mushrooms.
Mr. Lee Kwen (known to his staff and customers as “Dave”) set out to offer the Canadian chefs, exposure to the incredible flavours and textures available in locally grown, but European influenced, cremini and portabella mushrooms. A little known fact — until now — exposes Dave as the person who grew and distributed the first oyster mushrooms on the West Coast.
Today, the company has grown into a North American and worldwide distributor of an incredible variety of domestically grown conventional and organic mushroom products, along with innovative mushroom mixes, designed for chefs and foodies alike. In addition, Misty distributes the full range of wild, foraged mushrooms, including the elusive and much prized truffles. In season, the forest-crafted mushrooms are shipped fresh. In each offseason, the same fungi are available as frozen and/or dried products. All this is done from the Misty Mountain Specialties corporate head office in Richmond BC. They carry a constant supply of Grade A peeled garlic, peeled shallots, black garlic, Cape gooseberries, a sensuous Golden dragon fruit, as well as the greatly sought-after chili threads.
As the term “specialties” infers, Misty Mountain Specialties is diversified to sustain handling other Specialty Fruits and Vegetables gathered from around the globe. They supply Canadian harvested seasonal fruits and vegetables including fiddleheads, sea asparagus, BC saskatoons, as well as wild berries. When not in season, these items are available frozen.
Dave has also created a Retail Division Education program designed to elevate the shopper to professional cook knowledge level, regarding the full range of specialty foods.
Medicinal properties of mushrooms are certainly a strong part of Misty’s outreach to the general public, with the introduction and distribution of reishi and chaga mushrooms, which are known to be helpful in maintaining healthy body functions.
Misty Mountain Specialties continues to monitor and respond to the end user’s refined pallets and taste buds, by continuing to supply their needs.
Social awareness is also a huge part of Misty Mountain Specialties’ commitment. They continue to participate with many fundraising projects. The company raised significant amounts of money for various disaster relief needs. As well, Dave and the staff make annual pilgrimages by volunteering at a number of community undertakings, such as Christmas toy drives, food bank drives, as well as volunteer serving on the boards of community nonprofit associations.
With an annual growth rate of 30 percent, handled by a staff of 20 employees, Misty has been frequently recognized as a Category Leader in the Canadian Food Industry. Among many awards, Misty Mountain Specialties has been selected as one of the Top 100 Food and Beverage Processors in Canada, the Best Business in Richmond and earned the International Business award by the Association of Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs (ACCE).