We grow our mushrooms on oak sawdust that comes from a family-owned sawmill 45 minutes from our farm. The sawdust is completely natural and additive-free; the sawmill does not treat nor handle chemically-treated lumber. We convert this forestry by-product into fresh, nutritious, protein-rich food with the help of one of Earth's best recyclers: fungi. It only takes about 1.9 pounds of sawdust to grow one pound of delicious mushrooms.
We do not use any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, additives, etc. in our sawdust or any part of our growing methods. We only supplement our sawdust with organic grains, organic brans, high-purity gypsum (a naturally-occurring mineral which provides calcium), and water. We buy our organic rye grain from the good folks at Windy Acres Farm - a family farm in Orlinda, Tennessee who have farmed organically since 1986.
All of our mushrooms are USDA Certified Organic by Quality Certification Services.
Because we are working with microorganisms (similar to breweries, yogurt-makers, and cheese-makers) they do require unique environmental conditions, which in turn require energy inputs. Our goal is to innovate the best low-energy growing methods and infrastructure for our Southern climate. This will takes years of research, so for now we:
- Use energy-efficient LED lights
- Insulate, insulate, insulate - about a third of our building's insulation is reused
- Package our bulk mushrooms in cardboard, which is easy and economical to recycle. Recycled cardboard is used to make the corrugated medium (inner wavy part) for new cardboard. Our boxes are custom manufactured in just the next county over in Cullman, AL.
- For retail packaging in grocery stores, we use #1 PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic containers. PET is one of the most practical plastics to recycle. Post-consumer recycled PET is FDA-approved for food contact which means that our containers can be recycled and used to make food-grade containers again.
- Compost our spent sawdust substrate to create a biologically-diverse soil amendment
- Use reusable laboratory supplies whenever possible
Once we can afford it, we have designs to employ: large-scale rainwater collection, solar water heating, energy recovery systems, and more.