Organic Mushroom Production: From Spores to Delicious Fruiting Bodies
It was a very fun and informative Farm Walk at Cascadia Mushrooms for the 38 participants attending, many of whom described themselves as thinking of starting their own mushroom growing operations or adding mushrooms to the crops they already cultivate.
Cascadia Mushrooms owner-operator Alex Winstead has been farming here since 2009, and has been growing mushrooms before that on a smaller scale. In just a few years he has turned his business into a recognized name in the region. On his small farm outside of Bellingham, Alex has built a facility perfectly tailored to his operation’s needs. He and his staff walked us through all the various rooms and steps that it takes to grow their top-quality, certified organic mushrooms.
Along the way, Alex also talked about his business’ early days, finding capital, and learning how to market mushrooms. He touched on a few related topics like mushrooms used medicinally and for bio-remediation.
On the tour, participants eagerly inspected, touched, and smelled the various stages in mushroom growing. We saw the making of the sawdust-based substrate medium, the place where the specialized grow bags are inoculated with mushroom spawn, the growing mycelium, and finally the fruiting bodies themselves. We learned which stages of the growing process must be kept sterile, which require heat, and which require a certain level of moisture. We were provided an in-depth look at the systems Alex has designed to meet all these requirements and facilitate the growth of bountiful mushrooms.
Many of the attending farmers asked questions relevant to their interests in starting mushrooms on a smaller scale. Alex had good advice to give based on his learning and experience. He encouraged folks to read up on good resources and try their own experiments with mushroom growing. Snacks of grilled mushrooms satisfied all.
Farm Walk Booklet: HERE