His desire to bring something unique to the community and his passion for food is helping Leesville native Chris Richmond make a name for himself and his business Artemis Gourmet Mushrooms.

Richmond, an avid hunter, started foraging for mushrooms after he would frequently happen upon them while hunting.

He said that once he was over the fear, or phobia, of picking a poisonous mushroom he was hooked and suffered from "mushroom fever".

He made the decision to leave his career working in oil fields to show his children that it was possible to make a living doing something he enjoyed doing.

After investing approximately $5,000 to get started, it has become a full-time job.

It has taken nearly a year for him to perfect the process he uses to grow and produce delicious organic mushrooms.

He is completely self-taught and started by cutting little pieces from the center of oyster mushrooms and put them in pasteurized straw to grow.

Richmond grows several varieties of oyster mushrooms. Over the last few years the popularity of specialty mushrooms like oyster, lions mane, shiitake, maitake and others has grown more than 37% since 2014.

Oyster mushrooms grow extremely fast and range in size, color and texture giving them a large variety to choose from. With the right growing conditions, a single mushroom spore can produce 1000's of pounds of mushrooms.

Currently, he grows about 100 pounds of mushrooms a week in a 1,500 sq. ft. area that he sells locally and at different farmer's markets around the state. He plans to increase his production to 350-500 pounds each week.

Richmond said that anyone looking for locally grown organic mushrooms, or hard to find exotic one, can message him through his Facebook page or by calling him at (504) 616-9269.