Blog 20: January Mushrooms

Starting the year strong

2022 is off to a great start for us at Collar City Mushrooms! Our mycelial network has expanded into new restaurants and educational centers, we’re growing far more mushrooms, we’ve implemented a new inventory management system, and we have some really exciting events planned for the next few months. 

The Little Viking Company, a vegan pop-up in Troy is making a smoked mushroom sandwich as one of their offerings that is really out of this world!  Go get one!!

Matt from the Little Viking

Indian Ladder Farms has increased the frequency of their purchases and now includes a weekly mushroom based vegan option in their tasting room.

We welcomed a new volunteer, Sandra, who has helped with some of the steps of the growing process. Several other people stopped in to inquire about employment or volunteer opportunities as well.  We are working on expanding soon and will certainly be in need of some more fans of mushrooms to help us grow in the coming months!

Making Substrate bags is one of the first steps in growing our mushrooms

Our grow shelf system has been redesigned to allow for 194% more blocks in the same space.  Over the next few months we will be rebuilding some of our existing shelves to expand into this new design.  This system only works for end fruiting mushrooms, like lions and oysters, not so much for top fruited strains.

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Our First Shelf Structure
New Shelf Design
Shelves Partially Loaded Up

Our new digital dashboard for tracking mushroom inventories in various stages has been implemented!  Designed by the data wizard, Nathan Stempel, this system uses QR codes to assign cultures, grain spawn, and fruiting bags to locations and helps us track the process and predict expected output!

Nate Designing our New Label
The First Block Being Scanned into Grow

The meditation classes from December lead by Bob Muncil have turned into bi-weekly meditation sessions.  These drop in classes include chanting, sitting meditations, guided meditations, movement, yoga, and mushroom tea!  Wear comfy clothes, bring a yoga mat, and a favorite meditation or meditative activity to share!  This month we will be meeting on the 8th and 22nd.  7pm – 8pm.  

Meditation Sessions Getting into some Yoga led by Maria Diotte

On a wintry Saturday morning we hosted Knit Wits with Kerri!  This introductory knitting workshop was a great way to spend a few hours.  We shared our mushroom tea and worked on developing different knitting techniques.  Next time we may try to get yarn dyed with mushrooms!

Let’s Get Knitting!

We met to discuss Entangled Life, by Merlin Sheldrake for our book club.  It was a lively discussion with a small group.  Next Month we are getting into Christopher Hobbs’ book: Medicinal Mushrooms: the Essential Guide.  This group is limited to 10 spots, if you are interested email Avery @ collarcitymushrooms@gmail.com for more information.  We will be reading this book for at least 2 months and creating some of the medicinal concoctions that are suggested along the way.

Our Next Book Club Book

We applied for our first research grant.  Though we were denied because of a lack of proper documentation, we were invited to become an industry partner with the USDA -NIFA (National institute of food and agriculture) to review and approve grant applications and help us learn the grant process better for the next round of research proposals.

We attended two Rensselaer County Chamber of Commerce Events.  One virtually and one in person.  Connecting with the other business owners in Rensselaer county has been a great experience. 

We are working on growing a few new cultures: 2 enoki strains, chicken of the woods, and a new wine cap strain.  We also successfully grew 4 tubs of Cordyceps, as well as brought Pioppinos and Beech mushrooms back into the mix.

Fresh Growing Cordyceps
Cordyceps Packaged for Sale
Pioppino
Beech Mushrooms

Coming soon

Tuesday, February 8th 7pm – 9pm: Mushroom Meditation Session

Saturday, February 12th 5pm – 8pm: Valentine’s Dinner with Dave and Corinne.

See EventBrite to purchase tickets.  $40 for a 4 course meal.  BYOB event.  See Event Brite, Facebook Events, or our website’s EVENTS and HAPPENINGS Page for descriptions of the courses and drink pairing suggestions.

Sunday, February 13th: This Month’s 2nd Sunday Poetry will be online only.  See the 2nd Sunday Facebook Page for details

The Capital Roots’ Garden Bowl fundraiser has been pushed to 2/26 so there is still time to help our team raise money for them – we will close at 1 that day so everyone can bowl.

The Hollow will be serving Vegan Scallops using our kings again for their Valentine’s Dinner on Saturday the 12th and Monday the 14th.

We will be a Meaty Max Valentine’s Treat pick up spot.  See the Meaty Max instagram or email Max to order!

A festival of found foods  is currently in the planning stages and will be happening the last week of May. Stay tuned for details!

The Web Page for the Ending the Prohibition of the Mind Symposium is live on the Sanctuary’s site:  

We have to confirm another speaker or two and we’ll update the event page, but set April 19th from 7 – 9 aside, this is going to be the first aboveboard statewide discussion including NYS assembly members, lawyers, researchers, and more!  Check out some of the other co-sponsors:

New Yorkers for Mental Health Alternatives: https://www.nymha.com/

The People’s health sanctuary: 

The Plant Medicine Law Group: https://www.plantmedicinelaw.com/

A few other Private Workshops we’ll be doing in the next few months:

Thursday March 3rd at 5:30pm: We will be presenting a how to grow mushrooms class through Capital Roots’ virtual gardening education program. (a small donation is suggested for attendees who are not part of their gardening community)

https://www.capitalroots.org/classes/

We will be traveling to the Emma Willard School for a culinary mushroom awareness program and a cooking demonstration. 

Students from the Emma Willard School will be joining us as interns to learn about the nutritional content of mushrooms and how the mushroom growing process works.

This summer, a student in the agriculture program at SUNY Cobleskill will be joining us for a credit bearing internship. 

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