Beyond Organic + Soil Building + Fossil Free
In an unsuspecting Eagan backyard lies our Base Camp for our mushroom operations. The mushrooms we cultivate here sustains our network of Co-op & restaurant buyers across the Twin Cities. This space also seconds as a research and development site for new fungal cultivars and innovative backyard growing methods.
We also partner with a network of Backyard growers in South Minneapolis. The mushrooms on your plate could well have been harvested from your neighbors backyard earlier that morning.
Why we're Beyond Organic
We do not use chemicals to grow our mushrooms; however, organic certification is expensive, and furthermore, certification requirements are tailored to centralized farming models.
We distribute our mushrooms locally, so we have the opportunity to invite buyers to be in authentic relationship with us. We encourage farm visits, so consumers know that what they are putting in their bodies is healthy and grown without chemicals.
How we Build Soil
We connect with local businesses and graciously accept their common "waste" streams, such as tree branches, wood chips, garden residues, brewers grains, etc. The mycelium -the underground digestive network of the mushroom- converts much of this mass into nutrient dense food and medicine, mushrooms!
Once we've eaten all the mushrooms, what's left over from the mycelial feast is an array of compounds that are bioavailable for soil microbes (bacteria, protzoa, nematodes, etc.) and soil meso-fauna (earth worms, beetles, etc.). These soil dwellers eat this mycelial "waste" -and oftentimes one another- creating a delicious compost of bioavailable nutrients for plants.
How we are Fossil Free
Unlike most mushroom farming operations, we do not need to sterilize our growing mediums (substrates) prior to inoculation. Sterilization takes an enormous amount of energy, as pressurized steam is injected into room-sized pressure cookers in order to kill all microbial competition that may be inhabiting the substrate.
Our wood chip grown mushrooms rely on biology to do the work. For two weeks prior to inoculation the wood chips are completely submerged in water. During this process of fermentation, anaerobic microbes who are dormant on the surface of the wood chips prior to submersion, come to life in the underwater environment and eat a sound majority of oxygen-loving aerobic microbes. When the chips are drained of water the anaerobes revert back into dormancy, leaving a fairly competition-free substrate for our desired fungus. No fossils necessary!
Our log-grown mushrooms require no pre-treatment, as they are freshly cut the winter prior to inoculation.
Furthermore, fungi are the keystone species in the cascading process of recycling dead stuff back into the soil profile. This means that garden wastes, spent grains wood chips, etc. that would otherwise off-gas much of their carbon bodies as C02 into the atmosphere are instead sequestered back into the soil, thanks to fungal intervention.
Considering our fossil-free methods of substrate preparation and our hyperlocal growing and distribution model we believe that much of our carbon footprint (transportation) is offset by the amount of carbon sequestered by the fungi we cultivate.