Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Burbank, OH 44214
Tom and Wendy know they are serving a niche market . The oyster mushrooms they choose to grow are more perishable than other types of mushrooms and cannot be shipped long distances by the larger producers.
In a wooded valley just outside of Wooster, Ohio, Tom and Wendy grow fungi - growths of yellow, pink, and blue sprout from hanging plastic columns. Mushrooms should be a critical part of agriculture—they’re the recyclers.
The Wiandts produce a variety of mushrooms in just a few small buildings nestled among an old-growth forest. They have made this pursuit economically viable enough to leave their former careers, and they contend that in an ideal society, mushrooms—grown on entirely waste products—could provide an extremely efficient protein source.
Though they still hunt and market wild mushrooms from their 46-acre, organically-certified woods, they now specialize in homegrown oyster, shiitake, and lion’s mane mushrooms. These go to farmers' markets, retail outlets, and restaurants.
To reduce waste, Wendy has begun pickling the mushrooms they don’t sell. They now have a licensed cannery and sell the pickled mushrooms at market.