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He Runs A Mushroom Business Out Of His Basement
Jerome Segura first attempted to grow mushrooms in December 2018 as a hobby and to save money by not having to buy them at the store. Within a year, after much trial and error, he developed a system to grow up to 60 lbs. of mushrooms a week. He does it year-round in the basement of his Stevens Point, Wis., home, and sells mushrooms weekly to CSA customers, as well as at farmers markets and to restaurants.
  The former professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point notes he had limited biology background when he began the venture.   “I tried to grow white buttons and portabellas but just ended up with mold,” he recalls. Mushrooms may be a fungus, but they need extremely sanitized growing conditions. Steam is a common method, but expensive, so when Segura learned about an old sanitizing method using pickling lime, he was eager to try it. He also changed the types of mushrooms he grew and created a space with the right environment.
  He remodeled a 7 by 11-ft. coal room in the basement with a vapor barrier and pvc shelving. He vented to the outside through an old window.
  “I have a pond fogger in a 30-gal. barrel of water. It has 12 discs that can atomize 6 liters of water an hour so it looks like a cloud coming out,” he explains. Another 6-in. inline fan blows the air out of an old window in the coal room so that the Segura home’s air stays clean and not full of spore particles.
  The humidity and temperature (ideally between 65 and 68 F) are crucial for growing mushrooms through stages of development, from seed to fully grown in about 21 days with additional growths 14 days apart. Segura starts with a substrate of wood pellets, bran and mushroom spawn with lime water in food-safe poly bags. He gets 2 or 3 “crops” of mushrooms off a block before the substrate has to be replaced.
  Segura grows varieties of oyster mushrooms, including Italian and King oysters, as well as Freckled chestnut mushrooms, which is a family favorite. He also has had success with Lion’s Mane mushrooms, that are hard to grow and easy to contaminate. They are worth the effort as they are reported to help repair nerves and help check Alzheimers.
  CSA clients pay $120 for 1 lb. of mushrooms per week for 12 weeks. Overall, between farmers markets and restaurant sales, the mushrooms sell for $10 to $16/lb. At full production, Segura says his small mushroom growing space can produce and gross about $500/week.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Segura & Sons Mushroom Farm, 2117 Main St., Stevens Point, Wis. 54481 (seguramushrooms@gmail.com; Facebook: Segura & Sons Mushroom Farm).

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #2