Four Sigmatic

Mushroom Products

Four Sigmatic founder and 13th generation mushroom farmer Tero Isokauppila learned the power of mushrooms from a young age while foraging on his family’s farm in Finland. Founded in 2012, Four Sigmatic is the culmination of Tero’s love for mushrooms, his family’s background, and the knowledge he learned while studying chemistry, and plant-based nutrition at Cornell University. Six years later, the Four Sigmatic team works between Venice, CA, Manhattan, NY, and Helsinki, Finland to improve your quality of life with small dietary adjustments. Their Market Line ‘Shroom Room location will be their first dedicated retail location on the East Coast.

Get to know: Four Sigmatic

Tero Isokauppila

Founder & Farmer

How did growing up on your family’s farm in Finland influence the work and mission of Four Sigmatic?

I grew up on my family farm in Finland. At a very young age I started foraging for mushrooms with my mother, a teacher of human physiology and anatomy. My father is an agronomist so I learned from him the complete process of food production. This knowledge of wild foods, agricultural systems, and the human body piqued my curiosity. I went on to study Chemistry and Nutrition in university, which further developed my interest and knowledge in the potential for functional mushrooms. This curiosity for the way food impacts our body, mind and environment, drives me and the work of Four Sigmatic every day.

What is one misconception about functional mushrooms and superfoods that you hope to strive to change?

That mushrooms taste bad. If you thought every vegetable tasted like a raw rutabaga, you’d probably never eat vegetables again. There are over 1.5 million types of fungi, and tens of thousands of these are edible mushrooms. Reishi and chaga mushrooms taste nothing like a shiitake or crimini, or white button mushroom. If you don’t like the texture of culinary mushrooms, I promise that functional mushrooms have a completely different taste and texture.

I will give you that the functional mushrooms can be quite bitter when properly extracted. That’s why we mix the functional mushrooms in Four Sigmatic products with coffee and cacao, ingredients we’re used to tasting biter.

When I think of the Lower East Side, I think of…

My friends, both the ones I’m very close with and visit several times a year, and the ones I haven’t yet met!

Best thing about NYC and worst thing about NYC:

NYC is full of great learning and overall opportunities. There are people and places here that you just can’t find anywhere else. It also has its weaknesses and it will certainly burn you out if you’re not careful.

What is your earliest food memory?

Growing up on a farm, my earliest memories are of cutting grass, feeding our calves, driving the tractor, and foraging for wild foods with my mother. I was very lucky to be involved in all parts of food production for as long as I can remember.

What’s the one food you can’t live without?

All functional mushrooms and adaptogens. If I had to pick just ONE, I’d probably pick Chaga mushroom. It’s been a Finnish staple for hundreds of years, since it grows quite plentifully there. It was even used as a coffee substitute during rations in WWII. Chaga is an amazing source of antioxidant properties that support immune function. I travel several times a month for work and I swear I haven’t gotten seriously ill because of my chaga consumption.

Preferred method of transportation:

Plane, because it’s (currently) the most efficient way to get all of the places around the world I need to, and want to get to. I’m also a Sergeant from the Finnish Air Force and have been lucky enough to even fly some planes, including hitting 7Gs into the stratosphere in a jet fighter once.

What is your most essential ingredient in the kitchen?

Raw cacao powder. I use it to make my own homemade raw chocolate bars and add it to drinks and smoothies on the daily.

How did growing up on your family’s farm in Finland influence the work and mission of Four Sigmatic?

I grew up on my family farm in Finland. At a very young age I started foraging for mushrooms with my mother, a teacher of human physiology and anatomy. My father is an agronomist so I learned from him the complete process of food production. This knowledge of wild foods, agricultural systems, and the human body piqued my curiosity. I went on to study Chemistry and Nutrition in university, which further developed my interest and knowledge in the potential for functional mushrooms. This curiosity for the way food impacts our body, mind and environment, drives me and the work of Four Sigmatic every day.

What is one misconception about functional mushrooms and superfoods that you hope to strive to change?

That mushrooms taste bad. If you thought every vegetable tasted like a raw rutabaga, you’d probably never eat vegetables again. There are over 1.5 million types of fungi, and tens of thousands of these are edible mushrooms. Reishi and chaga mushrooms taste nothing like a shiitake or crimini, or white button mushroom. If you don’t like the texture of culinary mushrooms, I promise that functional mushrooms have a completely different taste and texture.

I will give you that the functional mushrooms can be quite bitter when properly extracted. That’s why we mix the functional mushrooms in Four Sigmatic products with coffee and cacao, ingredients we’re used to tasting biter.

When I think of the Lower East Side, I think of…

My friends, both the ones I’m very close with and visit several times a year, and the ones I haven’t yet met!

Best thing about NYC and worst thing about NYC:

NYC is full of great learning and overall opportunities. There are people and places here that you just can’t find anywhere else. It also has its weaknesses and it will certainly burn you out if you’re not careful.

What is your earliest food memory?

Growing up on a farm, my earliest memories are of cutting grass, feeding our calves, driving the tractor, and foraging for wild foods with my mother. I was very lucky to be involved in all parts of food production for as long as I can remember.

What’s the one food you can’t live without?

All functional mushrooms and adaptogens. If I had to pick just ONE, I’d probably pick Chaga mushroom. It’s been a Finnish staple for hundreds of years, since it grows quite plentifully there. It was even used as a coffee substitute during rations in WWII. Chaga is an amazing source of antioxidant properties that support immune function. I travel several times a month for work and I swear I haven’t gotten seriously ill because of my chaga consumption.

Preferred method of transportation:

Plane, because it’s (currently) the most efficient way to get all of the places around the world I need to, and want to get to. I’m also a Sergeant from the Finnish Air Force and have been lucky enough to even fly some planes, including hitting 7Gs into the stratosphere in a jet fighter once.

What is your most essential ingredient in the kitchen?

Raw cacao powder. I use it to make my own homemade raw chocolate bars and add it to drinks and smoothies on the daily.

How did growing up on your family’s farm in Finland influence the work and mission of Four Sigmatic?

I grew up on my family farm in Finland. At a very young age I started foraging for mushrooms with my mother, a teacher of human physiology and anatomy. My father is an agronomist so I learned from him the complete process of food production. This knowledge of wild foods, agricultural systems, and the human body piqued my curiosity. I went on to study Chemistry and Nutrition in university, which further developed my interest and knowledge in the potential for functional mushrooms. This curiosity for the way food impacts our body, mind and environment, drives me and the work of Four Sigmatic every day.

What is one misconception about functional mushrooms and superfoods that you hope to strive to change?

That mushrooms taste bad. If you thought every vegetable tasted like a raw rutabaga, you’d probably never eat vegetables again. There are over 1.5 million types of fungi, and tens of thousands of these are edible mushrooms. Reishi and chaga mushrooms taste nothing like a shiitake or crimini, or white button mushroom. If you don’t like the texture of culinary mushrooms, I promise that functional mushrooms have a completely different taste and texture.

I will give you that the functional mushrooms can be quite bitter when properly extracted. That’s why we mix the functional mushrooms in Four Sigmatic products with coffee and cacao, ingredients we’re used to tasting biter.

When I think of the Lower East Side, I think of…

My friends, both the ones I’m very close with and visit several times a year, and the ones I haven’t yet met!

Best thing about NYC and worst thing about NYC:

NYC is full of great learning and overall opportunities. There are people and places here that you just can’t find anywhere else. It also has its weaknesses and it will certainly burn you out if you’re not careful.

What is your earliest food memory?

Growing up on a farm, my earliest memories are of cutting grass, feeding our calves, driving the tractor, and foraging for wild foods with my mother. I was very lucky to be involved in all parts of food production for as long as I can remember.

What’s the one food you can’t live without?

All functional mushrooms and adaptogens. If I had to pick just ONE, I’d probably pick Chaga mushroom. It’s been a Finnish staple for hundreds of years, since it grows quite plentifully there. It was even used as a coffee substitute during rations in WWII. Chaga is an amazing source of antioxidant properties that support immune function. I travel several times a month for work and I swear I haven’t gotten seriously ill because of my chaga consumption.

Preferred method of transportation:

Plane, because it’s (currently) the most efficient way to get all of the places around the world I need to, and want to get to. I’m also a Sergeant from the Finnish Air Force and have been lucky enough to even fly some planes, including hitting 7Gs into the stratosphere in a jet fighter once.

What is your most essential ingredient in the kitchen?

Raw cacao powder. I use it to make my own homemade raw chocolate bars and add it to drinks and smoothies on the daily.