BLOG 19: Winter Happenings (Dec 2021)

December has come and gone, and we certainly finished the year strong.  We hosted multiple groups for tours, added new regular restaurant and market customers, meditated, and swapped cookies!  We are finding more ways to fill our space with growing mushrooms, and creating more opportunities for you to enjoy them! Here’s a snapshot of some of our activities and experiences:

Early in December we hosted a homeschool group field trip for a tour, mushroom identification lessons, and story time!  

Bree reading “Mushrooms in the Rain” to a group of young mycologists.
Avery going over the process of growing mushrooms

One of our regular customers and GoFundMe donors belongs to a local hiking group called Women of the Woods.  Instead of their usual trek along a forest path, they opted to visit our farm for a tour and some tea!  We really enjoyed sharing our space with them and seeing the fungal excitement build as they explored our grow rooms.  The interest in mushrooms really does cross boundaries to people of all ages and backgrounds!                                                                                         

Women of the Woods

Artist and RPI Electronic Arts PhD candidate Allie E. S. Wist created a multisensory exhibition of works using our mushrooms.  She bought several ready-to-fruit oyster bags and incorporated them into an electronic sound installation.  She also distilled mushroom smells and had the scents pumped through diffusers.  It was truly an immersive experience.

Blue Oysters hooked to electrical diodes reading their output

Collar City Mushrooms joined the Rensselaer Chamber of Commerce in order to build stronger network connections with other businesses in Troy and the surrounding communities.

Increased production means also creating more compostable material.  In addition to our partnership with Albany Victory Gardens, we are now working with Capital Roots and the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center to move our spent mushroom blocks to urban garden plots that are in need of fertile soil.

Melissa picks up some composted blocks
Danielle grabs some chopped blocks and a few whole third flush blocks to fruit in the Radix Garden Space

We found a perfect little stand alone pantry at Artcentric in downtown Troy that actually started it’s life in a home in Lansingburgh!  We moved it to our shop and it now houses some of our dried mushroom products, including the Primo Botanica Mushroom Based chocolate products!

Check out ArtCentric here: https://www.artcentricmarketplace.com/

Visit Primo Botanica here: https://www.primobotanicachocolate.com/ 

Our Mushroom Pantry

We are experimenting with using shredded hemp to grow oyster mushrooms.  So far our blue oyster culture has fully colonized our sample bucket and we are waiting on some fruit!  If we are able to yield significant mushrooms using this method we will be partnering with a local farm to take their waste product and turn it into delicious food!

Blue Oysters growing in pasteurized hemp

Bosque Foods has fully moved into our production space in order to work on developing their process.  The farm certainly feels very full these days!

Rafael and Isabella

The regularly recurring 2nd Sunday poetry reading once again filled the farm with words and feelings!

Hosts Dan Wilcox and Nancy Klepsch
Julie Lomoe performs a holiday song

You can read Dan Wilcox’s blog write up to see who said what:

https://dwlcx.blogspot.com/2021/12/sunday-2-poetry-prose-december-12.html

Copies of the “Myceliate” game arrived just in time for winter holiday gift purchases.  These 18 card games are a simple but fun little maze adventure where you “fruit” various mushroom warriors to help protect the kingdom of “Mycelination.”  

We hired 2 new team members to help support our operations. Aubrey and Rebecca are assisting with our grow cycle and dried goods productions!

Aubrey learns how to make substrate bags
Rebecca makes some mushroom salts

The 4 week “Meditation Amongst the Mushrooms” class taught by Bob Muncil was a fantastic splash of meditation techniques, simple practices, and delicious mushroom teas.  The participants enjoyed it so much we have decided to make it a regular part of our monthly events!  Moving forward it won’t be so much of a class, but more practice time to gather with like minded people.

Bob Muncil talks about the present moment

Meditating Amongst the Mushrooms

        A poem by Avery Stempel

And we become mushrooms

The mycelium winding through us

Integrated in perfect symbiosis

With reverence for the fungi, we breathe deeply, sip our tea, and sit

Engaged in contemplation

Empowered by meditation

Emptied of distraction

The philosopher’s mind, the poet’s mind, the mushroom’s mind intertwines

The mycelium pure, the substrate clean, fungus ready to fruit

Fused

Stronger

    Together

With new knowledge and techniques

With new layers and tweaks

With an understanding that it all connects: the sitting, the tea, the breath we meditate

Amongst the mushrooms

Many People purchased ready-to-fruit blocks as gifts or to grow in their own kitchens.  Here’s one of our customer’s mushrooms at home:

Avery (an alumni of Siena College) and Collar City Mushrooms were featured in Siena’s “Saints Making Sparks” newsletter.

We hosted the Capital Region Vegan Network Cookie Exchange with a mushroom based lunch by the Meaty Max Team.

Alyssa, Paul, and Max of the Meaty Max team
Nico and Ian in the lab
Bree and Amy putting orders together and putting blocks in to grow

New Customers:

NIskayuna Food CoOP, Restaurant Navona, the Hollow

Niskayuna CoOp
Chef Erik at Navona
Xandra at the Hollow

Coming Soon:

JANUARY 9th: 2pm – 4pm 2nd Sunday Poetry and Prose Open Mic hosted by Dan Wilcox and Nancy Klepsch.  All are welcome.

JANUARY 11th and 25th 7pm – 8pm: Meditating Amongst the Mushrooms.  Come meditate with us.  We will be experimenting with the structure of this gathering time and exploring various meditation techniques.

JANUARY 13th 7pm – 8pm: Our first Book Club Discussion meeting.  We will be discussing “Entangled Life” by Merlin Sheldrake and choosing our February book.

JANUARY 29th 11am – 12pm: Knit Wits with Kerri.  This beginner’s knitting class will go over basic knitting techniques, but also leave room for already established knitters to work on current projects. Hot Mushroom Tea will be available.  Class will be by donation. 

Genny knits a blanket

JANUARY 29th 2pm – 5pm: Bowling Fundraiser for Capital Roots. We are helping to raise money to support Capital Roots in their mission to provide quality food to people in the capital region.  Our farm shop will be closing at 1pm so our entire team can participate. You can donate to our team here: 

A Valentine’s dinner on the farm is in the works, keep your calendar clear on February 12th if you are interested in enjoying a mushroom based dining experience at the farm!  Stay tuned for more details.

We are working with the Sanctuary for Independent Media in creating a virtual event to discuss the changing legal landscape surrounding psilocybin mushrooms tentatively called:  “Ending the Prohibition of the Mind: A Mushroom Symposium”  It will be live on  4/19 from  7 – 8pm.

We have launched a new web page to answer the question so many people ask: “can we get “Those” kinds of mushrooms?!?  Many people are interested in procuring psilocybin containing mushrooms.  We want to be able to provide them.  The Laws need to be changed first though.  Contact your legislative representative to see where they stand.

New webpage: https://collarcitymushrooms.com/what-about-those-mushrooms/

Visit the Sanctuary for Independent Media here:

MUSHROOMS IN THE NEWS:

NY Assemblyman Pat Burke (D representing the Buffalo area) proposed legislation that would legalize psilocybin assisted therapy.

https://www.marijuanamoment.net/new-york-lawmaker-files-bill-to-legalize-medical-psilocybin-treatments-with-focus-on-first-responders-and-veterans/

The New York Times has forecasted that mushrooms will be the ingredient of the year for 2022.  You can read the article once you register as a subscriber or otherwise get past their paywall here:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/28/dining/food-trends-predictions-2022.html

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