Responding to sustained demand, Gwen and Jay used their 2020 AgOptions grant to obtain a 130-gallon mushroom substrate steamer, HEPA air filtration units, and a vertical impulse bag sealer. Demand for their gourmet mushrooms remains high and they often have to turn down new accounts due to lack of supply.
The founders of Black Trumpet Farms, a North Carolina-based mushroom farm, grow various kinds of mushrooms and swap types seasonally for the local market.
This year they have purchased a mixing machine that will enable them to use sawdust as a mushroom growth substrate rather than the pelleted substrate they currently use. The benefits of their project are many: by using locally-produced sawdust from Western North Carolina's fine furniture factories, they can close production loops, recycle waste materials, and save money on the purchase and shipping of the pelleted substrate material.
This project will save local businesses money by reducing hauling costs and tipping fees and will reduce everyone's environmental impact by keeping materials out of landfills. Finally, they can use the mixing machine to meet our region's need for affordable, high-quality compost. To fill this niche, they plan to reuse the leftover mushroom substrate as an input for mushroom compost blends.
The money saved and increased income from this project will enable them to grow into their new 2100-square-foot indoor mushroom facility, allowing them to eventually scale up to 750-1000 pounds of mushrooms per week year-round.