THE ESCONDIDO EDUCATION FOUNDATION TOOK A FIELD TRIP!

Marion Hanlon, Board member extraordinaire, arranged for EEF board members to tour the mushroom farm with owner, Roberto Ramirez as our guide.   There are 20 steps involved in growing a mushroom.  These 20 steps occur over a 63 day period.  Who knew so much work went into growing a mushroom?  You can’t just stick a seed in the ground and watch it grow!

The first few steps involve getting the “soil” ready.  Their compost is made from almond shells, cotton seed meal, and straw.  After several heatings, coolings, moisturizings, the compost is ready to be put into beds.  These beds are stationary in many many buildings.   According to Roberto, some mushroom farms move the beds from one location to another in order for the compost/soil to receive the proper climate changes.  At Mountain Meadow Mushrooms, the climate is moved from building to building.  The first building we entered was sweltering…..very warm with lots of humidity.   The next building was very cool and moist.

Finally, we entered a building where we could see little white “things” in the soil.  You guessed it….the mushrooms were finally growing!

The pickers come through and take the larger mushrooms, giving the little ones more room to grow.  We saw brown mushrooms, portebellas, oysters, and many other varieties before our tour concluded.  I couldn’t believe over 2 hours had gone by since we started the tour.  A fascinating morning learning about mushrooms.  Who knew???