After years of studying mycology and growing mushrooms as a hobby, I decided to take the leap and grow and sell mushrooms as a small family business. We are excited for the new challenge. The end of last year and the beginning of this year have been busy. Starting a farm is not easy, but we feel we have some good ideas and quality mushrooms to share. So how did this start and why?
I have always been a nature lover and fascinated by wildlife. My curiosity grew each time I went out in the woods. The beauty and wonder of the forest inspired me to learn the names of the flora and fauna. Eventually my curiosity turned to fungi. The colors, shapes, and diversity are amazing! It’s hard not to notice the strange and colorful living organisms that adorn the fields and forests. As my understanding of the fungi kingdom increased, so too did my appreciation for the role that they serve in the ecological systems and… in the kitchen.
My interest in fungi kept growing. I started experimenting with cloning and cultivating the wild edibles that I found. Nothing can generate stranger looks from house guests and in-laws as mushroom spawn filling half of the refrigerator and home-made moisture chambers in the corner of the kitchen. In 2010, after speaking with members of the Missouri Mycological Society a few friends and I started a local chapter in Springfield, Missouri. Despite my introverted and shy nature I was elected president!
In 2011 I came up with a few innovative ideas for mushroom products and new methods of growing mushrooms. Sick of the hustle and bustle of my corporate job in IT, I decided to start a business selling mushrooms and mushroom related products and to research these new ideas. While we grow and sell mushrooms, we are using some of the profits to fund further research and perfect these ideas. We have been working hard to to get this farm started and because we are using our own income to fund the project, well, the budget is very small. We have had to be very creative in planning and building our farm. Our goal is to someday perfect these innovative growing methods and pass this information to other new mushroom growers to help others get started and to make mushroom growing more environmentally friendly and sustainable.
As the new year begins, things are starting to progress. We have been approved by the new Farmers’ Market of the Ozarks in Springfield, Missouri to sell mushrooms beginning in April. We are also in discussion with several local area restaurants and markets. We are excited for the new journey ahead!