Who is Gentleman Forager?
Mike Kempenich—also known as “The Gentleman Forager”—is the company owner and President. He is an exotic mushroom cultivator, forager, educator, and wild foods distributor from Minneapolis Minnesota. For more than a decade, Gentleman Forager (GF) has been building a recognized, and respected brand in the wild food industry. Their mission is to revolutionize the way mushrooms, and other foraged foods, are integrated into consumers lifestyles.
Foraging in remote forests and cultivating exotic, specialty mushrooms is how GF got its start. In those early years, Mike worked with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and taught some of the first wild mushroom certification classes offered in Minnesota at the University of Minnesota, and later at the University of Wisconsin. Years later, Mike founded a retail brand called Forest to Fork and began scaling cultivation for packaged retail sales of both wild and cultivated Mushrooms. Thinking differently is a big part of company culture and so Mike opened a retail store, complete with a 15-foot-tall glass mushroom fruiting chamber to grow mushrooms in front of customers and developed a proprietary, one-of-a-kind, package in support of the new retail mushroom brand. While other mushroom companies utilize an un-recyclable plastic tub with a plastic wrap to cover, his design was eco-friendly and doubled shelf life. In early 2021, Forest to Fork was sold to an outside investment group who plan to further scale production for national distribution.
This allowed Mike to again focus on his passion for spending more time in the woods. Since that time Gentleman Forager has grown to focus on many related areas including guiding wild foraging outings, teaching wild mushroom identification courses, mobile catering and unique pop-ups, special events, and collaborating with food-industry businesses to develop value added food products, and delicious creations, using foraged and wildly unique ingredients.