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Mon Valley Mushrooms brings contemporary fungi to the desk

After consuming a very pungent shiitake mushroom a pair years in the past, my daughter determined then and there that she didn’t like all mushrooms.

Just lately, she begged for seconds — of mushrooms very totally different from the unique offending shiitake. These have been lion’s mane mushrooms.

I purchased the lion’s mane from Mon Valley Mushrooms, on the winter Morgantown Farmers Market.

That is Mon Valley Mushrooms’ first 12 months on the winter market. Up to now, they’ve offered out of contemporary mushrooms — often throughout the first half hour.

Behind these widespread mushrooms are Jamie Brown and Lucas Sieber. “Our demand is outgrowing our capability,” Lucas mentioned. “We see our limitations, however we even have hope and see the probabilities.”

They began rising mushrooms in Lucas’ storage a couple of 12 months and a half in the past. Final week I visited this retrofitted storage.

Rising as a lot as they will and frequently enhancing their workspace, this crew appears to be continuously pondering forward to greater objectives.

They started our dialog describing their future plans. Solely on the finish of my go to did we speak about how they bought began. One of many very first issues we mentioned was their intention to create a hyper native, eco-friendly system for his or her farm.

“Protecting it completely closed loop, in home, is the purpose,” Jamie mentioned. Lucas and Jamie defined that this might contain having their very own mycelium financial institution (mycelium is akin to seeds for fungus).

Lucas mentioned that they’re engaged on sourcing regionally produced substrate within the type of hardwood wooden chips or soy hulls — each byproducts of the agricultural trade.

Along with contemporary mushrooms and kits, additionally they promote shelf-stable merchandise like dried mushrooms, a meat rub, seasoning, tea and salt — all Jamie’s personal recipes.

Whereas they gave me a tour of their facility, they defined methods they might enhance it — methods that may improve their effectivity, however which additionally price cash. They famous that they’re only one energy outage away from dropping all their mushrooms — upgrading to photo voltaic is on their checklist of objectives. As soon as, when the water was out, they lugged in buckets of water from neighbors.

Fortunately, they saved their fungus, as a result of not solely market consumers depend on their manufacturing. They’ve offered to 17 native eating places. Six of these place weekly orders.

As they repacked develop baggage, which had already fruited as soon as, to attempt to get a second flush, we circled again and talked about their early days.

They mentioned they spent their first six months of this challenge experimenting to search out forms of mushrooms to develop, and strategies to make use of.

Jamie and Lucas settled on 13 varieties (some seasonal), with just a few extra varieties within the works, and on a course of that begins with inoculating grain with mycelium, shifting the grain into baggage of a rising substrate, then the luggage into humid tents to allow them to fruit earlier than harvesting.

Though I’m summarizing the method in a single sentence, it’s something however easy. The grain and substrate should be sterilized, provides must be measured and blended, and even with precision in each step, issues typically go improper.

“The mushrooms are in cost, we’re simply the facilitators,” Lucas joked.

Jamie and Lucas attribute their success to date to many pals who’ve pitched in and helped. They requested to place in a particular shout out to Mary and Chico of Mountain Harvest Farm. “Each manner you’ll be able to help somebody, they’ve supported us,” Jamie mentioned.

“Something feels attainable due to the help we’ve acquired,” Lucas mentioned. “That is only the start, although we’ve been at this for 18-19 months.”

ALDONA BIRD is a journalist utilizing expertise gained engaged on natural farms in Europe to assist her discover prospects of native productiveness and sustainable residing in Preston County. E mail [email protected].