A Lesson in ‘Shrooms {Wild Branch Mushrooms in Craftsbury Vermont}

Yesterday marked 30 days until we leave Vermont. And believe you me, we’re soaking up every last minute of each remaining day.

This week we went trail riding and I saw a BEAR (Harrison did not. That’s what happens when you race ahead.) We both ran our longest runs breathing deep and powerfully through the cool woods (sharing a nerdy high five at the end). He slaughtered a couple of chickens at the farm (a first for him; a pass for me). We hiked and hiked and hiked up a super steep mountain and, just as I started cussing under my breath, we reached the summit to take in a 360 degree so-glad-we-pushed-ourselves view.

It was a pretty awesome week. Oh and he even went foraging for some wild mushrooms in the woods and proudly brought home these beauties.

Hello wild oyster mushrooms.

And that wasn’t our only mushroom encounter this week.

Rewind back to a few weeks ago when Harrison joined the intern crew for a tour of Wild Branch Farm’s mushroom growing operation. That day he came home bragging about how insanely cool the whole process was. And I of course was then insanely jealous that I missed it. So the minute we heard about their burger/tour night, I was determined to get us back there. So last night we headed out to Craftsbury, Vermont to check it all out.

After we got our fill on feta and blue cheese stuffed grass-fed sliders loaded with homemade toppings like spicy sauerkraut, tomato basil salsa, fresh egg mayo, maple mustard and blueberry bbq sauce, we got off our hay bales and took a private tour around the farm with one of the owners, sweet Kris.

We learned that Wild Branch Valley Farm is a certified organic family farm located in the Wild Branch river valley of northern Vermont. There they grow a wide assortment of vegetables and flowers and raise grass-fed cattle, sheep and chickens.

And most notably for us, they also have their Wild Branch Mushroom operation on-site where they cultivate medicinal and culinary mushrooms inside some very impressive labs and grow rooms.

I have to say, after living in Vermont I’ve become pretty accustomed to touring fields and greenhouses. But the minute we stepped inside their filtrated lab room with Petri dishes, I knew that this was farming on another level. In the lab, we were able to see first hand how they grow cultures from the tissues of wild mushrooms (like those oyster mushrooms Harrison found earlier this week). From those cultures, mycelium develops. And through that mycelium, mushrooms are eventually born.

I had plans to walk you through the whole process in this post, but honestly, who am I kidding? I could barely keep up with all of the technical jargon flying around during the tour.  Pleurotus ostreatus. Substrate. Inoculation. Spawn. Seriously?

So instead, we’re redirecting you over here for a play by play from the experts. Or better yet, if you’re in the area give them a call and schedule a visit for yourself. Trust us. Farming can be mind-blowing folks –  a passionate marriage between science and art.

Until we have our minds blown again,

A + H


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