US (IN): Westfield couple grows up to 200 pounds of mushrooms weekly

A Westfield couple is celebrating a new milestone: harvesting their first batch of blue oyster mushrooms in an upcycled shipping container.

Farmbox shipped the couple their container farm in mid-July. Just weeks after the delivery, Mark Downs and Julie Downs have already harvested several batches in their 40-foot climate-controlled shipping container.

Stepping through the door of the container farm, there are computerized air controls and shelves of mushrooms in all different stages. Mark Downs has spent many days learning the computerized system and custom controls.

The Gourmet Mushroom Farm is run by software and hardware specifically designed for indoor growing operations. This allows farmers to control humidity, temperature, misting, and lighting schedules, and there is no need to use chemicals in the enclosed, food-safe space.

The process starts in the lab, where Mark Downs mixes soil and hardwood pellets in bags for seeding. Once it is mixed and sealed in a plastic bag, it is stored in a steam cabinet for 10-12 hours. The process takes a lot of sterilizing and keeping the area clean, Mark Downs said. A box of bright yellow disinfectant wipes are kept on each metal surface throughout the shipping container.

“Clorox is critical,” he jokes. Mark Downs adds a cup of grain to the bag, seals it, and it becomes ready for the next phase of the process.

Read the entire article at Indianapolis Recorder

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