Tucked away in Southern Vermont and nestled deep in the Green Mountain National Forest is Terrafunga; our outdoor, log-grown mushroom farm. The farm is located south of Jamaica, a charming village in one of the most picturesque parts of Vermont, favored by outdoor enthusiasts for its exceptional hiking, kayaking, skiing and camping. Our 15± acre lot is slowly morphing from an overgrown parcel of land to an efficient farm featuring over 5,000 neatly stacked logs, an organic garden, small barns, ponds, a rustic cabin and a vista to die for.
The four varieties of exotic mushrooms that we are growing include: Shiitake, Maitake, Lion’s Mane and Blue Oysters, selected for their health benefits and distinct gastronomic flavors. All of our logs have been inoculated with certified organic spawn procured from the most respected producer in the Northwest and sealed in with an organic wax to prevent unwanted microorganisms from interfering with mycelium growth.
The mushrooms are grown on locally harvested logs selected and cut to our specification (a different technique than traditional logging practices) to ensure that the bark isn’t damaged in the process. This allows for more efficient inoculation and protects the spawn (cultured fungus) and mycelium from infestation, thereby ensuring a healthy mushroom production.
We have been hard at work for the past tHREE years clearing the land, putting in roads, raising barns and plugging our logs in preparation for our organically grown mushrooms. Starting from scratch is never easy, particularly when farming is not a family tradition. However, developing and then realizing our dream, albeit slowly, is a thrill in itself. We have learned a lot along the way, and like any new business have seen our share of setbacks and challenges that have increased our commitment to our plan and our determination to succeed.
Most of our summer college help are majoring in various concentrations of Environmental Sciences including appropriate technologies, building sciences, alternative energy sources and sustainable architecture. Their knowledge of cutting edge technology and their desire to implement what they have learned have been invaluable to us. Some of the ideas that we have implemented include: creating a gravity-fed irrigation system to water our logs using rainwater and the sloping topography to virtually eliminate the need for a generator to pump water, designing a process for inoculating logs that improves safety and efficiency and planting fields with wild flowers and grasses that draw wild animals away from our product by offering them an alternative food source.
We are also experimenting with new methods for forcing logs to augment the number of flushes per year as well as inoculating techniques that will allow for maximum growth, easy harvesting and increase the number of logs per square feet in laying yards. In keeping with our mission to minimize our impact on the environment, we remain off the grid (and plan to install solar panels shortly), use biodegradable vegetable oil on our chainsaws, grow much of our own food to feed our crew and continue to implement organic methods of farming.