Roseville mushroom grower is 'farm family' of the year

It's a bustling harvest day for Ramsey County's newly honored family farm of the year. About a dozen crew members with R&R Cultivation gather and package fresh gourmet mushrooms — all grown indoors in an unassuming suburban Roseville warehouse.

The urban organic farm, just a mile from Roseville's shopping district, produces 1,500 pounds of mushrooms each week that are served up at local restaurants and sold at area farmers' markets, co-ops, and grocery stores.

"We are proud to be an urban farm growing year-round," said R&R Cultivation owner Nick Robinson, who co-founded the farm with friend Lance Ramm less than three years ago. "This is a different model of farming." The Ramsey County Board honored R&R Cultivation this month as its 2021 University of Minnesota Extension Farm Family.

"It is truly an amazing story," Commissioner Victoria Reinhardt said during the awards presentation. "We are really thrilled with the work you are doing. The love and caring really show though." 

Robinson and Lamm, both 38, started the business in a small grow tent in Robinson's Roseville basement in 2018, selling at local farmers' markets and then expanding to restaurants. When the COVID-19 pandemic slowed restaurant sales, they changed their focus to grocery stores and the wholesale market.

Now sales are booming in all three areas, and they're cultivating 11 mushroom varieties — including oyster, lion's mane, and shiitake — in a 10,000-square-foot warehouse. Their 100% USDA-certified organic products are sold in stores including Hy-Vee and Lunds & Byerlys.

French Meadow Bakery & Cafe uses R&R mushrooms in their specials. "They are excellent and varied and very high quality," said Joshua Nordine, general manager of the restaurant's St. Paul location on Grand Avenue.

The fact that they're organic and locally grown are important values, Nordine said.

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