The month of March brought a ray of light to Mushroom Mountain with the extended stay of remote employee, Megan Deaton. Megan lives on and manages her 40-acre farm in Colorado, operates her business (Megan’s Mushrooms), and handles wholesale operations for Mushroom Mountain.
Megan arrived just in time for the Organic Grower’s School Conference in Mars Hill, NC, where she presented on Sustainable Mushroom Farming. Farmers and growers were captivated in multiple sessions as she took us through the practical, affordable process of starting a mushroom business or simply growing your own food. A self-proclaimed “spreadsheet nerd,” Megan breaks down mushroom cultivation into byte-sized, easy-to-follow steps that anyone can manage. Here are a couple of samples of tiers of entry according to the presentation:
Her bottom line was, with a material investment of less than $100 and some fresh-cut logs, anyone can start a sustainable, renewable, organic source of food and/or income with mushrooms. The frugal farmers took copious notes and quizzed Megan on appropriate tree/mushroom variety pairings, spawning and harvest times, and temperature and humidity considerations. She didn’t miss a beat.
A week later, on the evening of the March full moon, Megan presented at our local mycological society and mushroom club, SCUMS (South Carolina Upstate Mycological Society). This talk included a hands-on log plugging event where participants were able to take home a freshly plugged shiitake log. Megan walked SCUMS members through the process and then helped them with drilling, plugging, and sealing their logs. Here’s a video of the demonstration:
In a casual interview at Mushroom Mountain, Megan shared with me how she got started with mushrooms, what she’s learned from working with them, and how she manages all of her endeavors. You can read the full interview here, but here are some takeaways that feel important for anyone moving into the fungal realm:
- Slow down. Mushrooms move slowly and wait for the right conditions to fruit. Megan says, “You can’t grow a mushroom from the beginning all the way to the end in a week, even two weeks. If you’re really looking at doing the whole process yourself, it’s at least an 8-week process if not longer depending on the species. So it takes a long time to wait for results and wait to see what happens. It’s not a hurried thing at all.”
- Pay attention to details, data, and visuals. Megan says, “They’ve taught me that it’s not all about just numbers, data, and organization. I’ve learned just as much from the spreadsheets as I have from visually watching the mushrooms, looking in on them every day to see what’s changed and what they’re doing. And they’ll tell you. Look at the little things. I went to school for photography so I’m a photographer by nature, and I’II notice all the little tiny details. Even if the stem is just a little more elongated than normal, maybe I’ve got something weird going on.”
- Follow the smallest mycelial thread to connect with the larger network. Megan says, “When I was reading that first book and doing my business plan, I really thought, ‘This is my future.’ This isn’t just another job that I’m gonna try out for a while and then move on to the next thing. There was something in me that was like, ‘This is your future.’ And now here I am at Mushroom Mountain helping with all these fun projects and just moving forward with everything. And now I feel like, ‘Oh, I’m so glad I listened to that.’ I’m so glad I kept going with it. A couple of years ago if you told me I’d be here, half the year and doing all these fun things, I would never have believed you. I’d be like, ‘No way!’’
As we continue to expand and grow, we’re thrilled and honored to have Megan as an integral part of our team. For wholesale inquiries, please contact Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org.