The Hippo


Jun 4, 2020








Grow your own mushrooms right in your kitchen. Courtesy photo.

 Homegrown Mushroom Company

Garrett and Mariah Campanella also sell their own pearl oyster, pink oyster and shitaki mushrooms along with the Homegrown Mushroom Company kits at the following farmers markets:
• Salem Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lake Street Garden Center (37 Lake St., Salem). Last summer market on Sunday, Oct. 26. 
• Bedford Tuesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. in the parking lot of St. Elizabeth Seton Parish (190 Meetinghouse Road, Bedford). Last market on Tuesday, Oct. 14.

Grow your own fungi
Start a kitchen science experiment


 Let’s face it, it’s really cool to watch something grow from scratch (or seed or, in this case, spore). Garrett and Mariah Campanella, who own Homegrown Mushroom Company, had the same idea. Based in Pepperell, Mass., the couple began attending local southern New Hampshire farmers markets this summer with a grow-your-own-mushroom kit. 

The Campanellas started growing their own mushrooms about two years ago with a mushroom-growing kit from another company. Hooked on growing the fungi, they decided to create their own kit and make it more flexible.
“[The kit we’d purchased] was significantly larger and took up a lot of space,” Garrett Campanella said. “It didn’t really fit anywhere. We thought it would be fun to design our own kit.”
The inspiration for their own kit came from a biscotti bag from a local baker, which had a little window you could see into and could fit anywhere in the kitchen, from the counter to on top of the pantry.
A kit from Homegrown Mushroom Company includes a small bag with a little window. The bag is filled with a combination of hardwood sawdust, coffee grounds (from Dunkin’ Donuts) and mushroom spores already visible through the window. There’s also a humidity tent and a sprayer that comes with the kit. After two to four weeks, you can harvest the first flush of pearl oyster mushrooms. After that, the mushrooms grow quicker and will have about two or three more flushes total.
“The reason we do the oyster mushrooms is because it’s the most reliable mushroom,” Garrett Campanella said. “Most of the people we sell to are first-time growers.”
“We wanted it to be something that was more or less foolproof,” Mariah Campanella said.
In the wild, pearl oyster mushrooms grow on hardwood trees (which is why sawdust is important to the kit). To give the mushroom spores some nutrients, the Campanella’s formed a partnership with Dunkin’ Donuts to recycle coffee grounds.
“Oyster mushrooms can break down a lot of plant-based materials, and one of the things they love to break down is coffee grounds,” Garrett Campanella said. “... It’s the whole sustainability thing — we take a waste product from Dunkin’ Donuts and turn it into food.”
Homegrown Mushroom Company formed in January. Garrett and Mariah Campanella have been selling the kits online and through local farmers markets all summer. The kits have been particularly popular with families, young children and teachers.
“We love hearing from people when they have a successful kit and bringing us pictures, but our favorite is definitely when it’s a family,” Mariah Campanella said. “The kids’ reaction is definitely the best. … Once the mushrooms have the caps on them they’ll double in size every 24 hours or so. Most things you don't really get to watch grow like that.”
Of course, others are just as happy to cook the mushrooms up, too. Mariah and Garrett Campanella said that they love to cook them with eggs, in a quiche or frittata. 
Garrett Campanella suggests cutting up the mushrooms with onions, sage, rosemary and thyme, cooking that in an omelette with a little bit of cheese.
“They have a very meaty texture,” Garrett Campanella said. “A lot of people love to do a quick saute with them in garlic and butter and toss them over pasta.” 

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