'SHROOMS MAN. The Boom in Organic Mushroom Production

Jeremy McAdams was an architect when he started growing mushrooms on logs in his Minneapolis suburban backyard. Soon, his obsession became a commercial business Cherry Tree House Mushrooms. He and his wife Aimee now raise chemical-free organic shitakes and oyster mushrooms on a 40-acre farm in Wisconsin.

Organic mushrooms are having a bit of a boom now. According to the USDA, Growers produced 109 million pounds of mushrooms that were certified organic during the 2016-2017 growing season, 20 percent above 2015-2016. Sixty-seven percent of the total, or 73.5 million pounds, were sold as certified organic mushrooms. This is up 21 percentage points from the 2015-2016 crop year. Agaricus mushrooms accounted for 84 percent of the mushrooms sold as certified organic, while all specialty mushrooms made up the remainder. The total certified organic sales of all mushrooms represent 8 percent of the 2016-2017 total mushroom sales. The number of certified organic mushroom growers totaled 73, up 5 growers from the previous season. These growers represent 23 percent of the 312 total mushroom producers.

Last year, the McAdams raised more than 5,000 pounds of ‘shrooms, selling them at not-too-far Twin Cities farmers markets, grocers and co-ops. I recently visited the Cherry Tree farm during an open house. First, they drill about 100 holes in each log with the mushroom “spawn” then move the logs outdoors to a shady glade about 6 months for time and nature to do its magic. Then the logs are stacked in a screen room to warm. A cold water bath spurs mushroom growth. ‘Shooms are harvested from vertical logs in a hoop greenhouse. Take a look for yourself here. They also sell mushroom butters and spreads and have great recipes on their facebook page. Yum. Thanks Jeremy and Aimee for a lovely visit.