Fungi Ally was started by Willie Crosby. He went to UMass' Stockbridge School of Agriculture for Turfgrass' Managment. After several years in the golf course industry he decided to shift gears into an area of (excuse the pun) organic interest; food production. After interning at Simple Gifts Farm in North Amherst and working mainly as the primary weed destroyer and general crew member, the experience gave way to a new path. Thoroughly enjoying the experience of being in this community and working to produce food, a new destiny was formed, but, at the same time, I experienced what hard work it was! So he schemed up a way to work less, play more, and produce pounds and pounds of mushrooms. In the long run it was a total FAIL in meeting those above objectives! Mushroom farming is just as much hard work as vegetable production, but, on balance, equally rewarding in offering our community high quality mushrooms and seeing my interest come to fruition.
Originally my idea was to grow mushrooms outdoors on logs, so with the help of community member Bill Cooley we inoculated 400 shiitake logs. We then waited and waited and waited for a full year until the mushrooms were ready to fruit. I thought what a brilliant way to farm! But in the meantime I learned more and more about indoor cultivation from workshops in Washington State and an Internship I served in Nevada at the largest medicinal mushroom grower in the country. After these experiences I dove into the world of indoor mushroom cultivation. Few years roll by and now we have a 2500 square foot warehouse growing about 300 pounds per week AND selling ready to fruit blocks to commercial mushroom growers throughout Massachusetts and New York.
Our mission is to create a world of balance and connection by revealing the power of mushrooms. We primarily work with edible fungi but also offer medicinal extracts and are experimenting with the possibility of Mycoremediation. The farm is located at 311 River Dr. in Hadley, MA and currently has 4 full-time farmers.
This is now the third year Fungi Ally has been participating at the Amherst Farmers Market! We have evolved the products we offer beyond mushrooms and have expanded the species we are growing. We also offer a CSA that can be picked up at the Amherst market. Saturdays when we aren't at market we enjoy hiking in the Skinner State park, Kayaking on the Connecticut and connecting with friends and family.
Stop by and visit!
Bringing you organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, locally-sourced blog posts on a semi-weekly basis from the Amherst Farmers' Market.