Expanding the Cultures

Blog Post 11  May 2021

April’s showers certainly did foster a lot of growth!  So many May Mushrooms are blooming!  

We had four significant news pieces come out over the last month or so: 

Jaclyn Cangro of Spectrum 9 News did a feature piece on us after spending 2 days at our facility recording footage and discussing our plans and operations.  You can watch it here: 


The Troy Record’s Melissa Schuman sat down for an in depth interview for the monthly business spotlight piece.  Read it here:  


Corinne Carey from WOOC interviewed CCM’s Avery, Maria Diotte from Bliss Arts NY, and Artist Amara Issel about the May 1st Music and Creativity Celebration.  Listen in here: 

Channel 10 news covered our King Stropharia (Wine Cap) Bed installation on the Doane Stuart School roof:

Doane Stuart Students with Avery Stempel, Photo by Jacqueline Kirkpatrick
Doane Stuart Students with Avery Stempel, Photo by Jacqueline Kirkpatrick
Doane Stuart School Principal Cecil Stodghill and Director of Publications Jaqueline Kirkpatrick (Also Collar City Mushrooms PR director)

On April 30th we had our first virtual field trip with junior and senior microbiology students from Middletown High School, in Middletown CT.  We walked them through our lab procedures and the process of growing mushrooms.  We focused a lot of time on contaminants and challenges in a practical lab environment. 

We had our first Music and Creativity Celebration on Saturday May 1st.  Bliss Arts NY arranged the art (Artist Amara Issel: https://www.behance.net/amarareiki/projects ) that is currently on display (check out Bliss Arts:  https://www.facebook.com/blissartsny ). 

We had a wonderful event to celebrate.  The Mr Days Band provided music ( https://www.facebook.com/MrDaysband/ ) and two of Collar City Mushroom’s regular customers (David Chaiken and Corinne Carey) made incredible mushroom treats!

Avery Stempel and guest Johanna Garrison, photo by Bob Lippman

Amara’s art will be up into June.  Many of her paintings are for sale.

Quang’s Bistro featured a Clermont NY Popup by Chef Alex Goldman that utilized our lion’s mane and white oysters for their dishes.

A few of the team actually got into the woods for some foraging and found ramps, birch polypore, and scarlet cups.

Our logs in Knox produced some fresh shiitake mushrooms.

photo by Amy Hood

Our indoor shiitake crop experienced some trouble that we hope has been rectified! In our attempt to expand we put a few blocks in too early which filled the shelves, but produced very few edible mushrooms. We are waiting for the final few blocks to finish fruiting, giving the entire room a complete scrub down, and then starting over!  We will have regular shiitake again by mid May.

Our inspection to become a small food processing operation was a success.  We scored an A with no urgent modifications required.  We will soon be producing seasonings, salts, whole dried mushrooms, and mushroom tea pouches.


With more and more people interested in growing mushrooms at home we have started to experiment with producing grow supplies like sterilized grain and substrate bags, agar plates, liquid culture syringes, and inoculated, ready-to-fruit bags.  We are working on our packaging now and will have more of these items for sale by pre-order in the near future.

On Friday May 7th we have another virtual field trip scheduled. This time a Lansingburgh Elementary 4th grade class. They will be getting a zoom tour of the farm building and a fully colonized grow bag.  They will be attempting to fruit blue oysters in their classroom.

We have started to make a variety of recipe cards.  Many of our patrons are people who are mycocurious and starting to move outside of their culinary safe zones.  We are constantly trying out new ways to prepare our mushrooms and sharing them with our guests.

We ordered a new strain of cordyceps to replace the contaminated one we had been attempting to grow.  This new culture from MycoSimbiotics appears clean and viable!  We will be expanding our Cordyceps crop from a few sample jars to a regular production cycle.  If you are looking for an all natural energy and performance booster, stay tuned.  We’ll have them for sale soon!

Mushroom of the month:

Black King Trumpets (Pleurotus ostreatus sp)

This beautiful and meaty mushroom is a genetic blend of blue oyster and king trumpet.  One of our favorite ways to prepare them is to simply roast them with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  This produces a crisp, tasty little treat!  They can be used as garnishing, as a side dish, or just eaten as a snack!

Roast at 450 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes watching carefully to make sure they don’t burn.  Flip them after about 5 minutes.


We only had 2 submissions so far so the competition is being extended through May.  Send us your favorite mushroom recipes and we’ll try them out!  The winner will be featured in our June Blog post and receive a $20 mushroom money gift card.

Coming up:

Now that we are growing an incredible amount of mushrooms with regularity we are seeking more restaurants and grocers to partner with.  We are currently talking to Electric City Food Co-op in Schenectady and they may potentially carry our mushrooms soon!  A site visit is planned for Wednesday 5/4/21.

Nighthawk’s in Troy is putting a regular mushroom dish on the menu and will be including both oysters and lion’s mane.

We are also looking into a possible mushroom delivery box.  If we can get any higher interest neighborhoods together in Troy/Albany/Schenectady/Saratoga areas we will find a common drop spot unless all the deliveries are relatively close.

Volunteers: if you are looking to come learn about the process of growing mushrooms and lend a hand for an hour or so  it would be very much appreciated!  Reach out to Kaya, our volunteer coordinator, at  volunteersatccm@gmail.com

May 22nd 5pm to 7pm.  Painting Workshop With Artist Amara Issel.  Max Capacity 10 people.  $25 to attend.  Reservations required.  Email Maria at Blissartsny@gmail.com

We are still collecting art for the second edition of our mushroom coloring collection!  If you are an artist and have a mushroom drawing you’ve done or have been thinking about doing that you think would fit in our collection, send an email to Avery at collarcitymushrooms@gmail.com

Mushrooms in the news:


2 thoughts on “Expanding the Cultures

  1. HI!!! Sunday’s event was nice. Food was GREAT,Music was also, and the artwork was AWESOME!!! You and your staff are doing a Wonderful job, and you”re dedication and knowledge is Incredible!!! Keep up the GREAT work and creativity. You’re doing a terrific job!!! Love, Mom and Dad Hood!!!!


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