Henry High grad becomes a certified organic mushroom grower

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Ian Silver-Ramp, founder and principal owner of Mississippi Mushrooms at 3750 North Washington in Camden, graduated from Henry High School in 2005. He went on to become an agricultural student at the University of Minnesota and worked in a forest pathology lab. Silver-Ramp began his venture of growing mushrooms in the basement of his home in the Hawthorne neighborhood. He wanted to develop a local, high-tech, eco-friendly facility. That dream became a reality. He is now a successful farmer in his community, a grower of delicious exotic culinary mushrooms in Minneapolis found on menus of restaurants such as St. Genevieve, Corner Table, Young Joni, Smack Shack Bar, La Grassa, Cafe Ena, Spoon and Stable, Travail and Bellecour. Mississippi Mushrooms are also available at East Side Co-op, Linden Hills Co-op, Wedge, Seward Co-ops, and Mississippi Markets.

Ian’s farm is located in an industrial warehouse complex near the banks of the Mississippi River in the Minneapolis Upper Harbor, the port of Minneapolis, where barge traffic was handled until the recent closing of lock and dam #1. The “Neighborhood Renovation Program,” a small business contest of Wells Fargo, awarded Mississippi Mushrooms $10,000 toward facility renovation.

Silver-Ramp grows four varieties of mushrooms: Grey Oyster, King Oyster, Nameko and Pink Oyster. He precisely regulates the humidity, carbon dioxide, light and air flow in four different growing houses with a control system managed from his phone.  The Mississippi Mushrooms website summarizes the operation: “Our growing process recycles locally sourced waste materials like sawdust and spent brewer’s grain, and does not include any synthetic or toxic chemicals. Substrate materials are inoculated with fungi in a specially designed clean-room and transferred to climate controlled growing chambers for year-round production of mushrooms and compost.”

Most materials for production come from other local companies. Spent grain comes from Dangerous Man Brewing, sawdust (cottonwood, oak, ash) comes from Wood from the Hood, scrap boards are ground at OTI Inc next door, mustard seed chaff arrives from Viterra across the river. These are all waste products ground fine to make the substrate which is then sterilized and put into bags. The fungus is then inoculated with mushroom spores, colonized, and incubated for three weeks before being moved to growing rooms for three to six more weeks. Mushrooms are plucked directly off the bags, harvested and ready to be delivered.

Silver-Ramp has more aspirations for the future. He is thinking about bringing in more vendors: unique vendors that distribute their own products. Fungus could also be used for building materials. The bags used are currently custom-made for growing mushrooms by the industry and now he would like to produce them. Biodigester experimentation is also an interest.

Want to buy some mushrooms or take a quick tour of Mississippi Mushrooms?

Open every Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

3750 North Washington Ave. N

(unheated so make sure to dress appropriately)

Home mushroom kits may be purchased on site.

Market gift cards are available online.

Online ordering of mushrooms is available for wholesale accounts only. If you are interested in opening an account find the application at mississippimushrooms.com.

 

This article was written by Susan Curnow Breedlove

 

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