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Growing Mushrooms at Home ft Josh & Megan of Megan’s Mushrooms

Growing Mushrooms at Home ft Josh & Megan of Megan’s Mushrooms

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Show Notes

Growing mushrooms at home is the topic of conversation this week as we join Nicole and her guests Megan and Josh of Megan’s Mushrooms.

What You’ll Learn

  • How easy it is to get started growing mushrooms at home.
  • Different ways to grow mushrooms at home.
  • The health benefits of growing mushrooms at home.
  • The process of growing mushrooms on a larger scale in a dry environment.
  • Some basic mushroom cooking techniques

Our Guest

Growing Mushrooms at Home ft Josh & Megan of Megan's Mushrooms 1

Megan and her husband Josh live in Rocky Ford, Colorado on 40 acres and have always had dreams of homesteading and growing their own food. They have rescue cats and 3 dogs, no children and are looking forward to getting more animals as the homestead grows. Both Megan and her husband absolutely love going to the little farmstands in their local area and have dreams of having a similar stand with all of their different kinds of mushrooms!

Megan’s passion is all things mushrooms. Four years ago she didn’t even know that most of the gourmet mushroom varieties existed. Then she found a grow your own kit on Amazon and fell in love with the oyster mushrooms due to their flavor and health benefits. From there she started her business and is always learning more about how amazing all mushrooms are!

Megan has a great interest in the medicinal benefits of mushrooms and how they can help so many people. Her goal is to bring the culture of medicinal and gourmet mushrooms to Colorado. She carries organic mushroom extracts in 14 different varieties. Medicinal mushrooms are superfoods that have been utilized in eastern medicine for thousands of years.

The mushrooms available for Megan’s Mushrooms taste like bacon!! All of their mushrooms are wood-loving species grown off clean sourced, sterilized sawdust. They contain up to 28 grams of protein per cup and varieties are chosen based off flavor and nutritional benefits. Lion’s Mane tastes like buttered lobster, Blue Oysters and Black Pearl Trumpets have an amazing umami/bacon-like flavor, and both Trumpet varieties have a meaty texture that makes them an awesome source for hundreds of alternative vegan dishes.

Megan’s Mushrooms grow kits are an easy and fun activity for all ages and provide education on growing mushrooms and a motivating appreciation toward food independence.

Megan’s Mushrooms aim to provide the highest quality, fresh mushrooms as well as other mushroom products that even non-mushroom lovers can enjoy! They grow indoors year-round and deliver from Rocky Ford all the way to parts of Denver weekly.

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    Transcript

    Announcer: 0:01

    Welcome to the Backyard Bounty podcast from HeritageAcresMarket.com, where each week you'll be hearing inspiring stories and educational interviews with extra guests to help your hobby farm thrive. And now, here's your host, Nicole.

    Nicole: 0:16

    Hello, everybody. And thank you so much for joining me for another episode of Backyard Bounty. I'm your host, Nicole. And today we're joined by Megan and Josh with Megan's Mushrooms. And we are going to talk about mushroom farming, some of the medicinal benefits of mushrooms, how to use them and in culinary purposes, and how to grow mushroom`s at home. So Megan, and Josh, thank you so much for joining me today.

    Megan: 0:40

    Yeah, thank you so much for having us.

    Josh: 0:42

    Thanks for having us, Nicole.

    Nicole: 0:43

    So you know, I can't say that I've met too many other folks that grow mushrooms. So please tell me how you got started in this? And how and why and what kind of mushrooms do you grow?

    Megan: 0:55

    Yeah, definitely. So we moved out to the plains of Colorado from the mountains a couple years ago. And just because the housing was more affordable, and we were able to acquire 40 acres and do a little something different. We've always wanted to homestead and grow our own food. And we didn't really have this space up in the mountains. The workforce is different here, and I was researching what little niches that I could do now that we had the 40 acres. You know, Colorado is still it's very dry, and it's different to grow things here. So I was just kind of looking around at my options, discovered mushrooms and then went on Amazon and found all the fun little grow kits there. So I ordered one and got it started right away and it just blew my mind. The Grow Your Own kits are so much fun. Mushrooms grow so fast. So once you get one started, within 10 days, you're harvesting your first batch of mushrooms. And every day they double in size and you can literally just sit there and watch them grow and it just blew my mind how fun they were to grow. I tried Button mushrooms and Portabella that you can find from the grocery store. But in Colorado, you know there's not too many gourmet mushrooms yet. So is the first time that I had tried it. They were phenomenal. So I grew the Blue Oysters first and they have a very umami bacon like flavor to them. And I also happened to be dieting at the time. And just being able to have something that I could cook I was eating a lot of raw fruits and veggies and having something that had such a high nutritional content. And also such high protein was just such a bonus. As well as I felt amazing, after the first couple batches that I ate. I struggle with fibromyalgia, and right away I noticed that my inflammation was down my pain was better. And I was like there's something to this. So after that I dove straight in and got a couple books to read took a bunch of notes and told my husband we're gonna grow mushrooms. And he's like, he was very skeptical at first He's like, "Okay, if that's what you want to do, let's you know, see what we can do to get it started." So we just jumped right in and started small. We started with the Blue Oysters until we got those dialed in. Currently we grow a few different varieties of oysters, we grow Lion's Mane, and then we grow a few different varieties of Trumpets, and they all have their own unique properties to them. We try and choose all of our varieties based on flavor profiles, but also medicinal and culinary uses as well. For instance, the Lion's Mane is very popular for having properties that help with brain health, among other things. So we grew that one. It tastes like buttered lobster, which is also amazing. And with the mushrooms having such a high protein content. It's funny most mushrooms, you want to eat the cap, the stems just kind of there and it's not as great as the cap. With Trumpets, it's exactly opposite and their stems, we can grow them up to like four inches in diameter.

    Nicole: 4:00

    Wow.

    Megan: 4:01

    So having so much protein, they're a great vegan source of protein. And with those nice big fat stems, you can make amazing vegan steaks out of them. And their culinary uses are pretty much endless. So yeah, so those are the main varieties we grow. And as we get better at those were always experimenting with different ones to see what works in our environment.

    Nicole: 4:22

    And you grow these not just for yourself, I guess is it your main source of income or is it a side hustle for you?

    Megan: 4:28

    It started at a side hustle and this year, we grew the business enough then it is our main source of income now. We mostly sell at farmer's markets and with current events and COVID, that's definitely changed things quite a bit this year. There wasn't as many farmers markets and things going on, so we started a subscription based delivery system that makes it easier for us to still get mushrooms to everybody without having you know to come to the farmers market.

    Josh: 4:57

    When she first started I have to admit I was super skeptical. Mostly because I'm, you know, kind of a picky eater, and there's not really a lot of gourmet mushrooms here in Colorado, I've got family down south Tennessee, and it's a much bigger thing down there, especially because they're able to go out and forge and you know, be able to get that stuff right out of nature. So when she first started, she was doing just a few pounds and she was doing the majority of it. The first farmers market, I think she went to she had like five pounds is all had two varieties. And it basically kind of grew. She sold out every week. I mean, there was always basically always a demand couldn't grow enough. The first year, after the first year ended, she got a loan. We basically invested everything we had big help shout out to my dad, he helped invest as well. And we built a brand new giant growroom brand new incubation room extended the lab basically took it from more of a hobby to a full time business. We were doing about like I said, five to 10 pounds a week last year. And at the height of the summer, we were doing 200 pounds a week.

    Megan: 6:01

    Mm hmm.

    Nicole: 6:03

    And how long have you been growing the mushrooms now?

    Nicole: 6:05

    Well growing, it's been what about two and a half years now?

    Josh: 6:08

    Yeah, this is our second year selling she did about I don't know, six to eight months of research before that trying basically different recipes, substrates, sterilizing procedures. I mean, she went through everything crazy. She had a ton of Excel spreadsheets to kind of track everything.

    Megan: 6:28

    Yep. And and, you know, experiments to see what worked well, I, once I started researching it. I mean, literally, within the first 10 pages of the first book I read, I knew this was a big thing. And my mind was just blown by how amazing mushrooms are. So I immediately started working on a business plan alongside reading my first book. And you know, we built a small facility where we could get started, and you know, grow a few and do some testing and whatnot. But we also made it big enough to grow a significant amount of mushrooms, because I was that confident that this was something that was going to be huge and work well. And so we were able to quickly scale up from there.

    Josh: 7:09

    She said from the beginning that mushrooms would be huge, and everyone would love them. And I was Yeah, I just laughed.

    Megan: 7:16

    He was very skeptical. Yeah,

    Josh: 7:18

    Now I've eaten my words, and I work for her.

    Megan: 7:21

    He's amazing. I couldn't do without him, though. I mean, I'd love to have a crew of you know, 100 people helping me with all the projects and whatnot that I'd like to do with mushrooms, but I wouldn't be able to do it without him.

    Nicole: 7:32

    That's wonderful. So what does a mushroom production facility look like? You know, for growing mushrooms at scale?

    Megan: 7:41

    In other parts of the country where it's more humid, a lot of mushrooms can be grown outdoors. But here in Colorado, it's very dry. And so one of the biggest things is having a controlled, very clean room for the fruiting. That has controlled humidity, our grow room stays anywhere from 80 to 90% humidity, which is a big difference for what it is outside in Colorado. So we've got the grow room with high humidity, you've got to keep everything very clean for the mushrooms. So we have an airflow system that controls the amount of oxygen and CO2 in the room. And it also has HEPA filters on it so that the air can be constantly scrubbed, and everything kept very clean. So that's one of the biggest things at growing scale with mushrooms. So you want to have everything contained, where it's easy to keep clean. My lab and my incubation rooms in my flower room are all connected so that you know no outside contaminants can easily come in and we get fresh showers before we go down there keep everything nice and clean.

    Josh: 8:48

    When we built a new flower room, one of the biggest things that we had learned from our first iteration of a flower room was it needed to be insulated, we needed to be able to control temperature, that was one of the big things we wanted to be able to keep in a certain range. The next thing we worked on was she actually found did some research and found this really cool misting system that we use, basically pressurized our water and we send it through these super fine either brass or stainless steel nozzles. And that creates a nice mist that controls our humidity, we've got that set on a controller. The next big thing like she talked about with the air is they produce a ton of CO2. Most people wouldn't realize the mushrooms produce a ton of CO2. So we have to not only constantly scrub the room, but we've got to be able to monitor the CO2 in that room to make sure that the CO2 is not too high, not too low. You want to kind of keep it in a range. The last thing I guess would be the lighting. We did all LED T5 lights that are waterproof. We've got those throughout. And then when we built the room, it's basically sterile, semi sterile, and we clean it every week at least once a week and All the air is filtered, all the water's filtered, everything has to be extremely clean. If there's any sort of contamination anywhere either on you or coming from the room, the mushrooms will find it and immediately show you.

    Nicole: 10:12

    So the flower room is the same as the fruiting room or where the actual mushroom for harvest is grown?

    Megan: 10:20

    Yes, so that's where the mushrooms are growing out of the substrate that we prepare ahead of time. Once that substrate is ready to fruit, the mushroom blocks is what we call them are moved into the fruit room and the mushrooms grow from there.

    Josh: 10:35

    It's kind of the last stage basically of the journey. And if you want Megan can kind of run you through basically the life cycle of how they start, you know what we do with the inoculation and then kind of run you through and that'll run you through each room as well.

    Nicole: 10:48

    So the flower room obviously, there's no actual flowers coming from the mushrooms themselves. It's just just to clarify for somebody that might be confused.

    Megan: 10:58

    Not a lot of terms for mushrooms yet, you know, they're they grow differently than plants do. So yeah, we call it the fruit or flower room where basically the fruits are produced.

    Nicole: 11:09

    Gotcha. And then as far as the lighting in there, do they need the light to grow? Or is that something that the lighting is just for you to work?

    Megan: 11:16

    Yes, that's a great question. So um, you know, your typical Button mushroom can grow without light. But all mushrooms actually do like light, especially with these varieties, they can grow without it, but they're not going to be as successful they definitely need it. And the more like they have the more nutrition that those mushrooms are going to have all the medicinal benefits all the beta glutens and antioxidants that are in mushrooms that are what make it so healthy for us developed due mostly to the light. So it's definitely possible to grow mushrooms without light but without that light then they're not as nutritious as they are able to be with light.

    Josh: 11:59

    Yeah, all the mushroom strains that she chose are really cool for a couple different reasons she chose wood loving species, all the mushrooms we grow our wood loving species, we don't have to worry about the newer like you would a Button mushrooms on the grocery store. And then our mushrooms love like one of the cool things. If you put our mushrooms out in the sun for a little while they will absorb massive amounts of Vitamin D rather quickly. So that's one of the unique things and one of the reasons she chose the mushrooms that she chose was we do love the light and we grow everything off of sterilized sawdust.

    Nicole: 12:31

    So can you walk me through the the process then of how a mushroom starts to how you get the fruit at the end?

    Megan: 12:37

    Yes, definitely. Yeah, no, we can go back backtrack a little bit and talk about the life cycle. Mushrooms reproduce by releasing spores into the environment. Those spores find each other, find something like wood to colonize and get their nutrients from and grow into what we call mycelium. So mycelium, if you see a grow block on a microscopic level, it's hyphae that grow and connect together. But to the naked eye, it would basically take you know when you see our sawdust and it just starts as sawdust once it starts to get colonized, that mycelium is very white. So we'll have a grow block that looks just like sawdust. And once it's fully colonized, it is white all the way through. And that's all that hyphae coming together and colonizing the substrate so that they can gain access of all the nutrients in it and get stronger as a colonized whole in order to produce mushrooms. Now, mushrooms fruit due to stress in the environment, actually, mycelium can grow and never fruit if all of the conditions are perfect. So when you're fruiting a mushroom, you're actually stressing that mycelium out because it knows that it could die off at some point due to whatever conditions such as winter coming and freezing. And that's why a lot of the mushrooms wild that you see start popping out in the fall before the freezes hit. And as they produce mushrooms, those mushrooms will then drop spores and start that whole life cycle over again. Spores can travel huge distances, and they can live through tougher conditions and colonize once those conditions get better. So with that being said, we start by cloning mushrooms as opposed to using spores, she can use spores. But to get the best genetics we actually clone the fruit itself. And we grow that out in a petri dish in our lab. And from there we start to basically just step up and give it more nutrients. So from the petri dish, it goes to what we call liquid mycelium which is basically just corn syrup and water. Sometimes they use honey. It's giving it the nutrients it needs and it colonizes the liquid. From there we can take that liquid mycelium and it goes into green So we use millet, it's one that we're hoping soon to be able to source locally. And the grains make it easy to break up once it's fully colonized. So all of this stuff is completely sterile. Obviously, the petri dishes are sterile, we sterilize the liquid before the cultures go into it. And then the green and the sawdust is all sterilized. So I guess the first step is sterilizing all the sawdust, green and substrate and then we bring it into the lab and introduce the liquid mycelium to the grain, and then the green to the sawdust, because they're all wood loving species. So they'll colonize the green and they get a lot of nutrients. But the sawdust is really what they want. So we transfer the colonize green to sod us, and that goes into the incubation room, the incubation room needs to be very warm, we do nine pound blocks. So it takes about two weeks to fully colonize a nine pound block. And once it's all white and completely colonized, it moves into the fruit room. And the conditions that start the mushroom to fruit are a change in temperature. So our incubation rooms are very warm. And then the temperature drop of anywhere from 10 to 20 degrees or different varieties want, you know, different drops, you know, we introduce them to that temperature drop lots of humidity, which is what they really like mushrooms are around 80 to 90% moisture themselves. So that's one of the really important aspects to it. And then the light, our incubation rooms are dark. And once we introduce them to the light, those are all the conditions that will start fruiting. So that's kind of in a quick nutshell.

    Nicole: 16:48

    So from the start, when you clone them to the finished harvest, how long is that timespan?

    Megan: 16:56

    So it really depends on the species of mushroom. Oyster mushrooms are always a great species to start with, as far as learning how to grow mushrooms. They're very forgiving, and they're very fast growing. So if you're talking about an Oyster mushroom, it's basically about three or four months, depending on the process. For each step that I spoke about. It's roughly a two week process for it to colonize the petri dish and the green and the sawdust and all of that it's pretty lengthy. But once they get into the fruit room, that's about about 11 to 15 days. Once you introduce it to the light and the humidity, and the temperature drop, it's about 15 days, and then you have your first harvest.

    Nicole: 17:42

    And how long is that block harvestable for?

    Megan: 17:45

    Well, I mean, technically, you can get about seven harvests out of those, as long as the conditions are clean, and you don't get any mold contaminants or anything like that in there, which is more common towards the end of those seven harvests. Just because the mycelium at that point is not as strong, even nine pound block, there's only so much nutrients in that block. Sure. So you can get seven harvests. But each harvest going down the road is going to be less and less as there's less nutrients for the mycelium to consume.

    Nicole: 18:18

    So you kind of touched earlier on the medicinal benefits. But could you maybe talk about that a little bit more, especially in regards to the varieties that you grow?

    Megan: 18:28

    Yes, I would love to. So all of the gourmet mushrooms, I mean, even Button mushrooms are all adaptogenic. And they're all great for your immune system. So if you're looking to boost your immune system, eating fresh mushrooms, taking mushroom supplements, anything like that is really going to help from there. All sorts of different mushrooms have all sorts of different health benefits to them. They've been used in Eastern medicine for 1000s of years. And I think Western medicine is just starting to learn all of this and there's a lot more trials being done with that. But for instance, the Lion's Mane I mentioned earlier is really good for brain health. If you take it in the morning, you can actually feel the benefits of it. It's almost like drinking a cup of coffee. They've started to make mushroom coffees out of that just because you just feel like you could do a really hard math equation or something. It just really strengthens your brain and with that nerve regeneration is another huge one for Lion's Mane as well as more of the digestive part of your body. It really it can help treat ulcers. It can help your body digest food easier. I really love Lion's Mane because it almost helps with every part of the body. So that was a big one. I knew in the beginning I wanted to grow. The Oyster mushrooms are great for cholesterol. There they did some studies that I have saved where they tested it on mice and rats that had very high cholesterol and just with one to three servings a week of Oyster mushrooms, their cholesterol drops significantly within four weeks. So that's really amazing to me that you don't even need a whole lot, and it can help greatly with that. And the Trumpet mushrooms fall along the same category as the Oyster mushrooms. Again, they're all really good for your immune system. And they're all really good for inflammation as well. Some of the more medicinal mushrooms are very difficult to grow a little bit above my level right now, and also need different conditions that we're not able to set up quite yet. But they're very powerful medicinally. So we work with my mentors. They're at Mushroom Mountain in South Carolina, and they make organic mushroom extracts of all the different varieties that are too hard for me to grow right now. So we carry those extracts so that people can gain those medicinal benefits. And I really love it for people who aren't mushroom fans, they still have a way to gain all of those benefits from it.

    Nicole: 21:02

    So obviously, you know, you said not everybody is a mushroom fan. So yeah, with mushrooms not being necessarily desired by everybody, which I don't know how you wouldn't want to eat like buttered lobster, because that sounds amazing but what are some different ways that you can cook the mushrooms or use them in kind of a culinary purpose because I feel like most people probably don't know, a variety of different ways to be able to actually cook or eat mushrooms.

    Unknown Speaker 21:31

    Yeah, so all the different mushrooms have, you know, different textures to them. And I think that's really important with gourmet mushrooms. One thing we found when we started the farmers markets is that especially in Colorado, nobody had tried these different types of mushrooms before and it was really amazing to be able to offer samples and we just did the basic blue oysters to introduce people to these types of mushrooms, the Button mushrooms and the Portobello mushrooms that you get from the grocery store have a very spongy texture to them. And I have to say I'm not as big of a fan of those anymore after eating all these different varieties. So these mushrooms have more of a meatier texture, it's not so much of a spongy texture. And with that being said, and that umami bacon like flavor, a lot of people have changed their minds about mushrooms once they've tried ours. As far as the culinary uses a simple saute is always my go to it's a great place to start to learn how to cook with the mushrooms. It's very simple. If you shred them that gives them even more of a great texture. So it's very simple to prepare. So for instance, with my Oyster mushrooms, I will just shred them by hand. Throw them in the pan with a little of my favorite oil, butter's great, any type of oil work a little salt and pepper and that's all you need. And if you're starting to try these mushrooms for the first time, I always suggest cooking them a little bit longer than you might do normally, because that browning of the mushroom really brings out that umami flavor and it doesn't have a texture anywhere near button mushroom. So simple saute, you can top almost any meal with them. You know they're a great meat substitute, but they're also a great compliment. The Lion's Mane is prepared a little bit differently. You start that in a dry pan, they have a very spongy texture, not to be confused with the button mushroom, it's different. But if you start that in a dry pan that works out better because they're so spongy, they will soak up all the butter right away if you start with butter in a pan, but those we call them steaks because you cut them into circles and cook them in a little bit of butter. And that's one of the favorite dishes of a lot of my customers is nice steak like a serpent turf and then a steak of Lion's Mane mushroom on the side. So they're very versatile. There's a lot of different things you can do with them and being so nutritious. The big thing is you always want to cook mushrooms. That's a misconception that a lot of people hear is that you know you can eat mushrooms rot and button mushrooms on the salad are amazing. But the cell walls of mushrooms and the Titan that they contain is very hard for our bodies to break down. So cooking is really essential so that your body has access to all those nutrients.

    Josh: 24:24

    Yeah, I mean, I think one of the cool things when I talked about earlier how she chose different kinds are Blue Oyster mushrooms have that umami kind of bacon flavor. They've definitely got a softer texture. She talked about the Lion's Mane and then you go all the way up to our King Trumpet's fastly become one of our most popular ones. The cell structure and the King Trumpet is extremely similar to meat. If you feel that it's very firm. And we found we got some really good recipes where it's kind of become our vegan steaks slash go to meat substitute. You can do them in a Instapot, you can fry them, you can put them in a slow cooker, they're amazing on the grill as kebabs or steaks or things like that. And we can grow them all the way up to, you know, two, three inches in diameter. So you can actually get some pretty good long, thick steaks out of it, score them, marinate them, put them on the grill, it's almost like a regular steak, they're really, really good. And then the protein content as well, you know, everything we have is high protein, you know, up to 28 grams of protein per cup. And it allows it to be very versatile for different things.

    Nicole: 25:30

    So if somebody wanted to grow mushrooms at home, because, you know, maybe they don't have access to these gourmet mushrooms, they sound like they're delicious, and something that I would definitely want to be able to grow at home. I mean, it's not as easy as growing zucchinis where you can just go put them outside is this something that people can grow at home are they only limited to being able to find gourmet mushrooms at their local supermarket or specialty store?

    Megan: 25:58

    No, it's something that everyone can grow at home. Once you start to learn what the mushrooms need. And being able to provide those environments It is very easy at home, for instance, or your own kits are designed to be placed on your kitchen counter, we always suggest placing them near the dishwasher because as the dishwashers run it provides a lot of extra humidity. But our girl kits come with a little spray bottle. And as long as it gets a little bit of artificial or sunlight per day. I mean six hours is plenty. And the most important thing is that you don't forget to spritz them with your spray bottle two to three times a day so they don't dry out. It's as simple as that oyster mushrooms, like I said, are the most versatile, but we just started offering our Lion's Mane Grow Your Own pits, and those are very successful as well. It's doable and a grow your own kid is only going to provide so much mushrooms. So if you were interested in growing a lot more mushrooms in your home, it's great to start with those Grow Your Own kits, so you get the hang of it. And then from there, the biggest thing is controlling humidity and the more humid climates, you don't really need as much control. But here in Colorado, taking one of those small greenhouses that you can get from Home Depot, or Lowe's or whatnot, makes it very easy for you to control the airflow and the humidity in there. And there's quite a few people that just set up those little growth tents in their garage or a spare bedroom. And that's enough to feed it a huge family of five, just filling that little greenhouse. So as long as you provide the right lighting and provide a bunch of humidity, it's it's pretty simple.

    Josh: 27:42

    Yeah, I mean, the biggest things are, if you wanted to do it at home, if you could get already colonized grainspawn, which you can buy online or from somebody local, or get colonized blocks. I mean, the big thing is if you can get sterilized grainspawn and make your own substrate, and there's plenty of different ways to do it. mega knows whether it's pasteurization, whether it's steam, if you can get the grain spawn that's kind of like your seed, you can definitely play with different substrates and be able to do it at home without having to have a lab or anything like that.

    Megan: 28:13

    Right, right. You know, with the lab, there's so much more that you can do. But there's plenty of mushroom companies in the country all over. If there's one local, it's easiest, because shipping, those can get a little bit expensive. And I always suggest starting from the easiest point and then working your way back from there. So if you buy a Grow Your Own kit, that's the best place to start. And then if you set up a greenhouse, buying those colonised fruit blocks is a great place to figure out how to dial in your environment. And those will tell you whether you're successful and kind of teach you what they need. And then you can work your way back from there. We have huge custom sterilizer we built to sterilize our huge nine pound blocks. a pressure cooker works really well if you have one, but again, like he like Josh mentioned, pasteurization, you can use lime, different things like that and and just getting that substrate sterile. So there's no competing molds is a big part of it. But that is easily done further down the road once you've learned all the other processes of growing mushrooms and you can buy any part of that from any mushroom grower so you can buy the green spawn and make your own production blocks. And, you know, just work your way around and feel out what works best for your environment. You can make a stir a little box, we call it a glove box to transfer and you don't even need a huge lab. I love to talk about mushrooms. So anyone that wants to learn how to grow mushrooms could contact me and I will make the time because I love talking about it. But just finding someone that's already figured out that process that can help you figure out what works best in your environment and your household. It's definitely easily doable.

    Josh: 29:58

    I mean they're really cool because you can jump in like she said, at the lowest stage, which would be get a Grow at Home Kit, you can buy syringes of liquid culture and you know, basically make your own grain spawn. The cool thing is you can get multiple harvest off of it. And then when you're done, the blocks are absolutely amazing for fertilizer, super high and NPK. And have tons of beneficial things in it for your garden. So it's great fertilizer that you can basically recycle all that amazingness when it's done and reuse it to grow other plants.

    Megan: 30:29

    And mushrooms grow off of especially oyster mushrooms will grow off of almost anything. My mentor Tradd Cotter is always getting people sent him mushrooms that have grown off of car batteries, and bowling balls. I mean, like if it's there, and they think they can get nutrients out of it, some of the more versatile mushrooms will grow off of anything. So then you can get really creative. And I mean, they'll grow off of cardboard. So if you want to just grab some extra cardboard there's, you know, great resources you can find online or again, just ask a local mushroom grower. And it's really easy to sterilize that cardboard and set your mushrooms up for success. And they'll grow off of that as well.

    Nicole: 31:12

    So do you have any specific like books or websites that you have found particularly helpful that other people that would like to start growing mushrooms should check out?

    Megan: 31:23

    Yes, definitely. So the book that I started with, that really helps a ton and was written by my mentors called "Organic Mushroom Farming and Micro Remediation". And that's by Tradd Cotter. You can find the digital version on Amazon or you can buy the book and that is like my Bible for mushroom grind. He is very good at explaining things so that anyone can understand it. And he has basic steps as well as advanced and you know, steps from there. It's it's a great book. And then you know, if you do a quick Google search some of my favorites. Mushrooms are quickly becoming popular. And there's a few significant people in the industry that are amazing at sharing all of their knowledge. So Eric Myers with Myers mushrooms is a really great one. He's really good with teaching people how to build their own supplies, such as bigger sterilizers and whatnot. He's a mechanic, so he's really good at that sort of stuff. Mossy Creek mushrooms is another great one. Andrew does really fun vlogs and he'll bring you into his grow room and you know, show you hands on what he's got going on in there and he grows some gorgeous mushrooms. So even if you're not interested in growing mushrooms watching some of his videos are super amazing. All of that's on YouTube. And then Facebook actually is a really great one. I wasn't on Facebook too much until I started growing mushrooms. But there's a lot of groups in there full of people from all around the world. And it's awesome all mushroom growers just want to share their knowledge. There's not enough of us out there to grow mushrooms for everybody. So we need more people learning how to grow mushrooms and jumping into this industry especially because there's so much you can do with mushrooms. So there's a mushroom growing for beginners and experts is a great one that I really like. It's run by the guy that does sells liquid cultures to us. Mushroom growing. There's six I think significant groups on Facebook that you can find within easy search. And joining those groups. Everybody in there super amazing. You can you know, not know anything and ask the question. And you'll get tons of answers and also the search function on those groups looking for something specific. Somebody asked about it before and I never like there's only so many books that were written on growing mushrooms. So that was another huge source for me to be able to learn all the little things that you don't find just reading a quick book.

    Nicole: 33:58

    You don't you generously mentioned you'd be willing to share your time with somebody that would like to learn more. And then also, you mentioned your Grow Your Own kits for folks that would like to dabble into growing themselves. So what is your website or how do people get ahold of you?

    Megan: 34:16

    Yes, so it's MegansMushrooms.com, and you can send us a quick email from there and find all our information on there. We're also on Facebook at Megan's Mushrooms and Instagram. We have the girl young kids available to ship to all the lower 48 states and you can buy those directly from the website and then starting next month we are going to start offering all of the grain spawn and production blocks as well to ship out if people are interested in buying them from us. We have some very strong strains that really help jump that process of learning how to grow and especially with my Grow Your Own kits. A big thing for me is I really don't have a ton of time but I will make time To help people grow their mushrooms, so if you buy one of my Grow Your Own kits, you can find all the information on how to contact me. And I love hearing about the process. And I love walking people through the process and helping them learn what needs to be done. And with all different environments in people's houses, you know, there's some little tweaks and whatnot sometimes that you need to make. And, you know, I have people send me pictures, and I just love offering grow support. So with being able to buy all that stuff from our website, and anyone interested in growing mushrooms can also email me it's Megan's mushrooms at gmail or just jump on the website and contact us that way.

    Nicole: 35:41

    Well, there's nothing better than getting into a new hobby or new venture and being able to have that support. So I think that that is not only very generous of you, but worth so much for, for people that are starting out, because I'm sure there's a lot of questions and nuances that go with it.

    Megan: 35:58

    Thank you. I mean, that's part of what I really learned is that's part of the culture of mushroom growers. Everyone is, you know, it's me, but you can look up Eric Myers, Mossey Creek, all of those people are really great about helping and teaching, and it's mushroom food. So amazing. And I always tell my friends and family, like think of any type of industry in the world. And I can find a way where mushrooms could help it somehow. I'm so interested in so many different things, mushrooms, and I'm trying to focus on growing and the medicinal benefits. But I mean, they make building materials out of mushrooms, and you can make paper and ink and I mean all sorts of different things that a mushroom. So we need more mushroom growers out there, we need people working on all these different ways. We had such well, record breaking forest fires in Colorado this year, using mushrooms to restore that land is huge. And they've done it in Oregon and whatnot. But you know, that's something there's so many different little niches included with mushrooms that you can do. And there's they're sustainable. And I think there's just so many different ways that it can help the earth and all of you know, all the little different aspects of our lives can make us healthier, and mushrooms are amazing.

    Nicole: 37:13

    And for those folks that would prefer to eat them instead of growing their own. I understand that you have a special offer for our listeners.

    Megan: 37:22

    Yes, definitely. So if you go to MegansMushrooms.com/BackyardBounty, there'll be a link on there and you can redeem 20% off your first order. So it can be just one order of fresh mushrooms. But we also offer subscriptions, it's a monthly thing you pay once a month and you don't have to worry about ordering them all the time. can pick the frequency of it and whatnot. So if anyone wants to sign up for a subscription for mushrooms, then that 20% off will work for that as well. As well as the Grow Your Own kits as well.

    Nicole: 37:56

    Oh, great. Well, thank you for sharing that. So that would be I assume the actual mushrooms not the the Grow Your Own kit, but the mushrooms are just for folks locally in southern Colorado, Colorado.

    Megan: 38:09

    Yeah, so we cover what how many over 150 different zip codes in Colorado, we drive up quite a bit. But basically, yeah, it's Rocky Ford, but for the people that don't know where Rocky Ford is, you could basically say from Provo to Denver, we deliver and we deliver twice a week. So go to my website under the delivery section, you can check your zip code and see if you're in our delivery area or not. Or if you're really close to that we don't mind meeting you as well. We're trying to get mushrooms to as many people as possible. We need more mushroom growers in Colorado, and I'm really trying to grow the culture of mushrooms in Colorado medicinally as well as just getting more growers. So yeah, we try and cover as much as possible.

    Nicole: 38:53

    Well, with your special offer that you provided the listeners, hopefully we can get at least some more home growing kits and people's kitchens.

    Megan: 39:01

    Yes, definitely, definitely. It's such a great experience. And they're very simple. Kids really love them. If you have kids, you can basically give them the spray bottle and tell them you know, don't forget to spritz these two to three times a day. And they can be in charge of the whole process and feel like they did everything themselves. So it's very simple. And it's fun for all ages.

    Josh: 39:22

    Yeah, some of the coolest feedback we've gotten has been from people, they send time lapse videos with their kids, you know, day one, day two, and they love it because the blue oysters are basically within 10 days you have your first harvest, they grow so fast. So it keeps everybody very interested. Everyone's checking on it every day. And then at the end, you get to eat them. spritz them and they start again.

    Unknown Speaker 39:45

    Mm hmm.

    Megan: 39:45

    Yeah, it's an average of about four harvests with the Grow Your Own kits pretty easily you can get off of those.

    Nicole: 39:51

    Wonderful! Well, that sounds like a lot of fun and especially right now with everybody in quarantine. That sounds like a fun little project.

    Megan: 40:00

    Definitely, that's a great idea. Yeah.

    Nicole: 40:03

    Well, Megan and Josh, thank you so much. I really appreciate your time today and sharing with us your process for producing mushrooms and how people can do it at home. Very interesting. Definitely going to need to pick up one of your home kits. And this has been so much fun. Thank you so much.

    Megan: 40:20

    Yes, thank you so much for having us, you're a lot of fun.

    Josh: 40:23

    It's been an honor talking to you and we really appreciate you spreading the homestead grow at home food independence.

    Megan: 40:28

    Yes, love your podcast!

    Josh: 40:29

    I think that's very important, especially in these times. So no, I really appreciate what you're doing as well.

    Nicole: 40:35

    Well, thank you so much. And for those listening, thank you so much for joining me for another episode of Backyard Bounty and we'll see you again next week.

    Announcer: 40:43

    For behind the scenes sneak peeks, receive episode notifications, or leave a question or comment for the show, text the word "Podcast" to 719-292-3207 or visit HeritageAcresMarket.com/Podcast.

    Edited by PodSugar Audio Production & Editing

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