US (CA): Palm Desert mushroom growers ride ‘Shroom Boom

The story begins with an RV barn and no RV. Jim Shaffer and Stacy Andrews were living along the outskirts of Yucca Valley, looking for something interesting to do. Their eyes kept going back to this empty structure on their property. 

They discussed a few ideas for the RV barn. Some kind of vertical garden, maybe, so they’d have fresh produce all winter long. Perhaps microgreens? Sprouts? 

Shaffer, a software programmer, and Andrews, a retired elementary school teacher, were also hoping to make a little extra income. There were already people growing microgreens, and the couple didn’t want to compete with existing businesses.

But there was something nobody else was doing: mushrooms. “We both come from Michigan, which is bountiful with fresh mushrooms, and we missed that,” Shaffer says. “It seemed unbelievable we couldn’t get that here.” Over long, rambling walks in Pipes Canyon with their dog, Sadie, on a trail that runs alongside a small creek, the idea began to take shape. 


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