Flavorful, fresh, and nutritiously dense.
In 2021, mushroom grower Stefan Brady joined the One Acre Farm team and quickly started up a small mushroom operation at the farm. Diversifying the CSA offerings had always been of interest to farm owner, Mike Protas, so we quickly jumped at the opportunity.
The early spring of 2022 was when things really started kicking. We decided to upscale the mushroom operation.
During the winter months we had the mushroom operation set up in a section of one of the high tunnels. This high tunnel is heated, but many of the veggie varieties that we plant in there are somewhat frost/cold-resistant. The mushrooms, not so much. The prices for heating the high tunnel sky-rocketed!
We decided we needed a change. After finding a small used high tunnel at a neighbor’s, we promptly made plans to clear a section of diseased trees close by the pack barn. Chippings from the trees were added to the Compost Crew’s operation. Next, materials were procured to complete the high tunnel (plastic to cover the frame).
On a calm sunny day, Oscar, Mike, Charlotte, and Stefan worked together to put the plastic over the frame. Using wiggle wire, we secured the plastic tightly. It is snug as a bug in a rug!
This high tunnel area will be used as a fruiting chamber for the mushrooms. The plastic buckets full of local straw will be housed in there to grow the beautiful oyster mushrooms that we’ve come to love.
The mushrooms at One Acre Farm are grown using low impact techniques and methods. All materials used are sourced locally, with a focus on reducing plastic use. For example, the mushrooms are grown in pre-owned/used buckets from McCutcheon’s Apple Products in Frederick, MD. The straw used as the mushroom substrate is grown down the road, a few miles from the farm. Stefan also makes spawn which many mushroom growers will buy in. We’re making an effort to make the process as low impact and energy efficient as possible.
All the waste products from the growing process are very high-quality compostable materials. Stefan feeds the waste products to earthworms that eat the materials and turn it into vermicompost. This vermicompost will be used to make a wonderful and widely applicable compost tea.
One of the amazing things about mushrooms is that they’re “meaty,” aka, just like a nice steak, mushrooms crisp up, something called the Maillard effect. Mushrooms are a great source of protein and with our mushrooms, they’re so fresh that you get a spectacular flavor.
Our goal with these mushrooms is to grow delicious and flavorful mushrooms in an efficient and reliable way with the least amount of material input.