From office work to mushroom farming

An Israeli couple has traded the confines of the office for fields of mushrooms in Mangawhai - and they say it's the best move they've ever made.

Itay Simhony and Ora Simhony-Peer, who have been living in New Zealand for 18 years, say they decided to give mushroom farming a go because "we wanted to do something different".

"We started the farm four and half years ago knowing nothing about mushrooms," Itay told The Project.

"I'm always telling [people] that we learnt to grow mushrooms by watching YouTube and reading books.

"Previously I was a big boss sitting in the office doing marketing, project managing and I wanted to work again with my hands."

They've learnt quickly, though Ora says it's been a bumpy road at times.

"It's also very challenging," she says. "It's not easy to grow mushrooms and at this stage of life both of us, as you can see with our grey hair, we wanted to do it right. And we wanted to do something that will be full-on for us, and mushrooms are full-on. There's a lot to learn, there's a lot of labour, but also a lot of attention - the mushrooms are very, very spoiled girls."

Itay is the "production guy" in the business, while Ora is the grower. And both admit working together has sometimes brought its challenges.

"When it's high it is the highest but when it's low it is the lowest," says Ora.

The couple say support from the local community has been amazing, with feedback from their customers helping them refine their technique over the years.

Watch the video.