US (WA): Mushroom farming grows in the Inland Northwest

Josh Yake, founder, and owner of Gourmet Foragables & More, of Spokane, says he remembers when he was the only mushroom vendor at Inland Northwest farmers' markets. But over the last couple of years, he's seen growth in fungi vendors here, particularly among boutique mushroom farmers.

Krysta Froberg, owner of Happy Mountain Mushrooms LLC, has been involved in growing mushrooms for the past 10 years and started her own mushroom farm in 2017.

Froberg recently moved her farm from a 700-square-foot facility on the South Hill to a 2,500-square-foot facility in Colbert, which will enable her eventually to produce between 400 and 500 pounds a week, she says. Froberg grows 12 different mushroom varieties, half of which are oyster mushrooms. Other varieties include pioppini, chestnut, and lion's mane.

Froberg estimates that Happy Mountain is on track to gross $75,000 to $90,000 this year. For the last couple of years, Froberg also has been working for a mushroom consulting company that sets up mushroom farms all over the world. As a mushroom farmer and consultant, she has also seen the trend in mushroom growing. She says she compares the trend in mushroom growing to that of breweries.

"Every town I go to, there is a mushroom farm," she says, "And if there's not, someone usually starts one."

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