Jme Bonfiglio, Founder and Owner, WholeSun Wellness

WholeSun Wellness
Whole Mushroom Fruiting Body Extracts for Whole Body Wellness
Utah Fungi Festival, Founder
Sandy, UT

Jme Bonfiglio is the founder and owner of WholeSun Wellness in Sandy, UT. A trailblazer in the field of mycology, she said she has dedicated her life to exploring and educating others about the myriad benefits of mushrooms. With a childhood immersed in tribal healing practices, mushrooms have been a cornerstone of her health and wellness journey. Her expertise and innovative mushroom-based formulas have garnered international acclaim and demand.

Question: You have said that your childhood was immersed in tribal healing practices. Would you elaborate on that?

Answer: Growing up, my grandmother would take me out on the reservations, so I grew up around native folkways, and natural medicine. I learned just how many plants and fungi are these incredible medicines that we as human beings have either found or cultivated. They became a part of my lifestyle, and I just tried to live as close as I could to the earth, with whole, natural ingredients. I was so unfamiliar with the idea of nutraceuticals, and I honestly didnโ€™t even really know what a supplement was until about 2014.

Question: You established WholeSun Wellness in 2017. How did that come about?

Answer: I worked as an educator for several companies in the space, and so I really saw firsthand just how challenging it was to ensure any kind of transparency or standards. There were companies just grinding up myceliated oats (grain substrate colonized by mycelium, the โ€œrootsโ€ of the fungi), and calling that โ€œmushroom powder.โ€ No extraction, no testing. And of course, itโ€™s not even mushrooms!

So, I just decided to do my own thing. Iโ€™ve never been very good at the status quo, so I just figured that I could do it the way I wanted to. I took the experience I had, and just leaned into the passion that I really have for these mushrooms, and said weโ€™re going to have the best products, the best standards, the best testing, and the best farmers. And Iโ€™ve done all I set out to do. I had to do it all myself, including packing products until I grew enough to get a facility. Going from that place to where weโ€™re now becoming vertically integrated, and building out the largest medicinal mushroom farm in the United States has really been a journey.

Question: Please discuss the techniques your company uses when making mushroom supplements.

Answer: We grow our mycelium in a liquid culture thatโ€™s rich with calcium, nitrogen and minerals, so it takes all that in. Itโ€™s what makes the Pure Mycelium such a great addition, and why weโ€™re proud to be the first to add it to all our products. We then innoculate logs, real logs and the mushroom fruiting bodies can grow as nature intended until harvest. Some companies will harvest as soon as two months out. Sometimes that means the mushrooms havenโ€™t even formed yet, they just freeze-dry everything and blend it up and call it good. However, again, this is a substandard product.

The compounds youโ€™re after, the beta-glucans, the amino acids, all that richness takes time to develop, so patience is really an important technique for us. We typically hand-harvest at up to 12 months.

Extraction is a technique that you have to do right, otherwise, again, itโ€™s just sort of wasted. Fungi have a very tough cellular structure. Theyโ€™re formed of chitin, which your body has a hard time breaking down on its own. Just blending it up doesnโ€™t really do a good job of getting to all those beneficial compounds, or making them bioavailable. So we use a hot water extraction, which breaks down those tough walls, and then a secondary or dual extraction with an ethanol solution. This concentrate is filtered, and is added back to the mushroom solids, with no fillers. Youโ€™re really getting a whole, holistic end product that is potent, not just in beta glucans, but all those therapeutic active compounds.

Question: You are the organizer of the Utah Fungi Festival. Please describe the event.

Answer: The Utah Fungi Festival is the premier event for mycology and mushroom aficionados in the state. It is a three-day event focusing on education, panels, workshops, you name it. On the final day, we have open-air forays where we go out and identify these mushrooms, and harvest some. Itโ€™s really a special event, and a fitting close to the learning we just finished. Seeing them out in their native habitats, you really see how interconnected these organisms are with each other, their environment, and we are as people. Itโ€™s kind of put Utah on the map for mushrooms, and we have great speakers and educators speaking about everything from the ongoing psilocybin discussions, to environmental issues, new species and more.

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