First year in business – First of our fungi

It has been quite an adventure thus far over the first year of business at Fresh from the Farm Fungi. We have been busy creating systems that fit our values to maintain a local, sustainable urban mushroom farm here in Littleton, CO. We have been searching high and low for the best possible storage and delivery methods for our precious product. Above all, we have grown our mushroom collection and are beginning to piece together our growing season with the most formidable strains we can find!

As a mycologist and commercial farmer there is something special about finding the right strain. Each mushroom has a unique trait and personality in the grow room. For us our collection began with two great species gifted from our mentor and friend Anthony DeFranco at Niagara Mushrooms in Niagara Falls, New York. We have been growing our staples – Niagara Falls Lions Mane and King Oysters from the beginning and love the way these strains take off! Lions mane is a wispy and free forming mushroom. It loves the humidity and performs well near the humidity inlet valves in our grow tents. I have been amazed numerous times with how large these mushrooms can get and have even had to dial the fruit bodies back by cutting more openings for ease of packaging. The main appeal of this mushroom strain is it’s large dangling teeth and flaky texture. Together these features are a chefs dream and an eye stopper at the markets! I love hearing what recipes are used with our mushrooms and “love me some delicious lions mane in my eggs in the morning”.

King Oyster – the other staple – has been somewhat of a stubborn breed. I love seeing the massive fruits when a run goes smoothly, but I have faced some major set backs trying to figure out the King’s preferred setting. Right now it performs well dead center in the tent where it can watch the other mushrooms from a vantage point and hide in the safety of stable temperature and humidity conditions. From my experience, a slight dip in humidity or spike in temperature can put the pins into abortion mode and a whole lot of grief results from this. However, from a few missed bags we have experimented in the garden and stumbled upon the tomatoes favorite root companion – king oyster mycelium! Over the course of 12 months absolutely everything has had it’s use even spent bags for the garden veggies!

Our next find was quite unexpected. My wife and other half was browsing craigslist one day and stumbled upon a bleak looking grow kit left for dead. I immediately hopped in the Subaru and scooped up the nearly dried out oyster kit in hopes of salvaging anything for our farm. To my surprise this oyster made a miraculous come back on some saw dust after transferring the mycelium from the grow kit onto agar! Vwala! The Italian Brown Oyster revealed itself in all of its glory in a matter of weeks and now this is one of our backbone varieties. The brown oyster has a very savory taste and is a stunning addition to many culinary endeavors. Our favorite preparation is to sauté the browns with some Sherry Wine and then finish up with cream to make a chicken marsala sauce – sooooo good!

The fungi list continues to grow and every new strain that we develop and nurse in-house is a new challenge. This is what I live for and it is my hope to continue to bring out the best in every mushroom that comes our way! Thanks for your continued support and we really appreciate every customer and mycophile that we meet : )

Mushlove!

Gary Heferle

Owner, Fresh from the Farm Fungi

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