We made our goal! Thanks to all of you who have pledged, we can build the Shiitake fruiting house!
Since our campaign is still running till 6pm on the 30th, we have time for some stretch goals. Do you want to help us get yet another step toward this project? You still have a chance.
Another $750 will get us a few hundred feet of fruiting blanket - which we use to maintain humidity around the logs. Soon after soaking the logs to “shock” them, we cover the logs with these heavy blankets for two or three days. The blankets maintain humidity around to logs to encourage the most mushroom growth possible. After all these baby mushrooms have started, the blankets are removed.
If we can raise another $3000 then we can build the framework to support fruiting logs inside the fruiting house. The framework has to be made of galvanized steel so it can support hundreds of pound of weight – the logs, all the fruiting mushrooms, fruiting blankets – and not rust away on us. (You can see some pictures of the framework I’ve used in the past in pictures on this page.)
Mushrooms need a sheltered space to grow – whether in a forest or on a mushroom farm! In the past we've used enclosed canopy tents to do this, but in order to grow, we need a structure that is much bigger than that - and with more control of humidity. Help create a space for fruiting log-grown shiitake; locafy our fungi!
We are Cherry Tree House Mushrooms!
Mushrooms are healthy, delicious, and the Twin Cities needs more access to local cultivated and foraged mushrooms. At CTHM, we grow shiitake, oyster, nameko, and a few other mushrooms on logs at the farm in Ham Lake, Minnesota. We grow mushrooms on logs because they are delicious, beautiful, and they require less energy and fewer resources to produce!
"I love the beautiful mushrooms you grow, the quality and freshness are superb!"
-Brenda Lee Langton, founder, Mill City Farmers Market, and owner, Spoonriver Restaurant
"Shiitake from Cherry Tree House are the best I’ve ever seen and eaten. They’re thick and uptake well; keeping their form while taking on and adding to the subtle flavors of complex or simple dishes. They have an amazing shelf life and retain their nutrition and buttery rich woodland flavor well.
It’s crucial to have locally grown staples and delicacies from sustainable systems of production. Thanks to Jeremy & Cherry Tree House we have one of the finest mushrooms available with awesome flavor, size and unbeatable locally delivered freshness. We’re super proud to carry them."
-Travis Lusk, Produce Manager, Seward Community Coop
How we got here
I’m Jeremy McAdams, known to many as “the mushroom guy.” I started growing shiitake mushrooms in the backyard of our south Minneapolis home, which we used to call the Cherry Tree House. The farm spread to other yards in the next year, and then we got some great press from the New York Times about what we were doing. As a hundred logs became a thousand, this got to be a bit too much for our neighborhood, and I moved CTHM to a farm in Maplewood.
Since then we've started to grow other mushrooms like Oyster, Nameko, Reishi, and Lion's Mane. Last year we grew 1500 pounds of mushrooms, mostly shiitake, and now CTHM includes a team of seasonal employees and interns to make things happen. In December 2013 we moved again, to a farm in Ham Lake. We're still setting things up in the new space and planning for more growth. You can find old and new posts about our progress on Facebook or at the CTHM website.
Where can you find our mushrooms?
We sell mushrooms, both fresh and dried, in a variety of places: the Mill City Farmers Market; and the Seward, Wedge, and Mississippi Market Co-ops. We’ve sold to many restaurants in the Twin Cities – Alma, Birchwood, Craftsman, and others. Last year we started up a mushroom "add-on" with three CSAs in Minneapolis (see the rewards over on the side!) Also last year, I created a line of mushroom products: mushroom butter, mushroom spread, and a mushroom pate.
You can help locafy our fungi!
We'd like to produce more mushrooms locally at CTHM - in five years I want to be producing 9000 pounds of shiitake each year! Why? There are only a couple of local mushroom farmers in the Twin Cities area, so most of the mushrooms in our grocery stores and restaurants come from the west or east coasts - or even oversees. It's time to locafy our fungi!
In order to do that we've got to make a few changes - like building a shiitake fruiting house. This is where you come in; we need your help to build it! Contrary to popular belief, not all mushrooms grow in dark, damp caves. Here’s how we grow shiitake mushrooms: Once the logs have been colonized by mycelium, we soak them in cold water. That “shocks” the logs and induces mushroom growth. We set the logs in a space that is warm and damp, and protected from direct sunlight and wind. It’s like a little baby mushroom nursery.
When I first started out, with not very many logs, I used a canopy tent. As CTHM grew, we added another tent, and then another! We're going to need more space as we continue to grow and using a bunch of tents is just not working anymore! What we need now is a hoop house that will work as a mushroom fruiting house.
Help create a mushroom fruiting house for CTHM!
Where will your money go? The first $20,000 will go to purchasing a hoop house and building it. We've researched the right kind of hoop house that we'll need for our use and climate. We'll be getting a 30 x 100 foot hoop house with 4-foot spacing of heavy-duty trusses and a steep, peaked roof for heavy snow loads; and roll-up sides for ventilation. We also will be choosing large doors at either end to allow tractor access to the hoop house - since we move hundreds of logs each week and each one weighs between 50 and 75 pounds!
If we get funded by the end of April, I’ll be placing an order for the hoop house at the beginning of May and then we’ll have some big work parties to build it in mid-May. With your help, we’ll start fruiting shiitake in the mushroom fruiting house this June!
If we raise more than $20,000, we'll be able to cover additional expenses - like building the metal frames inside (for supporting logs while they’re fruiting), watering system, fruiting blankets (which maintain high humidity around the logs), and generally cossetting the logs.
Your kickstarter donation will help locafy our fungi, by making the shiitake fruiting house a reality!
Risks and challenges
Our greatest challenge is to keep producing the highest quality mushrooms using the most sustainable methods - while keeping down costs. The shiitake fruiting house is one of the strategies we’re using to limit risk, as it allows us to control many of the variables in the growing process; getting your help through this kickstarter campaign is part of our effort to control costs while maintaining quality.
I'm grateful for your goodwill and confidence, but I also feel a responsibility to reward that faith by producing lots of great mushrooms, by letting you know what big thing happened this month (or the next) at CTHM, and through gifts of appreciation.
You're taking a chance with us, but we have a track record of growing and selling mushrooms for several years. We feel sure that we'll continue to do so, even if we must keep adapting in order to keep doing what we love!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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