By Kayla Bott
A tour of Mushroom Mountain Farm in Easley, SC will be held on Wednesday, May 10, beginning at 2 p.m. During the tour, participants will have the opportunity to learn about fungal ecology, cultivation and research, while exploring the indoor and outdoor operations of the farm.
“I enjoy the realization people have when they become aware of all the amazing uses of fungi as food, medicine, biofuel and more,” says Tradd Cotter, expert mycologist, author of Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation and owner of the farm. “The ability of fungi to absorb soil contaminants through mycoremediation—as well as strengthen our immune systems in many different ways including limiting bacterial growth, interrupting viral replication mechanisms and inducing apoptosis in cancer cells—shows we have much more to learn from this kingdom of life.”
All of these areas of research are being studied by Cotter and his team at Mushroom Mountain, who have worked with more than 250 species of fungi so far. Around 50 of these are cultivated for their delicious fruits as the others are being used in research. Dozens of mushrooms are fruiting on the farm at any given time from indoor varieties to native outdoor strains.
“Outdoors, the shiitake [Lentinula edodes] and oyster [Pleurotus ostreatus] logs are fruiting in the spring and reishi [Ganoderma lucidum] can commonly be found along the trails,” says Cotter. “Indoors, more oysters will be ripening along with various shiitake strains, almond portobello [Agaricus subrufescens], black poplar [Cyclocybe aegerita], lion’s mane [Hericium erinaceus] and more rare varieties.”
Prioritizing education and sharing knowledge are among the farm’s top priorities. Classes are offered on location and online ranging in subject matters from mycoforestry and mycoremediation to fungi identification and cultivation.
“Mushrooms are keystone species and first responders when nature needs medical attention,” says Cotter. “We make biological filters, exposing fungi to contaminants to see how they react and degrade toxins to safe levels for both plant and animal life to thrive. We are also experimenting with bacterial pathogens and are in the process of pioneering a technique to produce novel antibiotics, which is very exciting.”
Following the May 10 tour, the farm will also hold a workshop titled The Culture of Medicinal Mushrooms on Saturday, May 20, and Sunday, May 21, led by Cotter along with Robert Rogers, author of The Fungal Pharmacy and Mushroom Essences: Vibrational Healing from the Kingdom Fungi. This intensive and fully inclusive seminar will cover everything from basic identification and ecology to the most recent breakthroughs in scientific research, as well as cooking with mushrooms.
Mushroom Mountain Farm is located at 200 Finley Road in Easley, SC. Tours are open to all ages. For more information or to purchase tickets for events, visit mushroommountain.com or call 864.855.2469.