Alex Winstead’s love of mushrooms began when he was a kid, discovering intriguing specimens on family hikes through the Olympic Peninsula. A later introduction to mushroom hunting transformed this curiosity into the full-blown passion that eventually led to starting Cascadia Mushrooms.

Alex Winstead has enjoyed a life-long passion for fungi. Photo courtesy: Cascadia Mushrooms.

What began as a tiny operation in Winstead’s basement has since grown into a full-time farming business dedicated to growing the best mushrooms possible using organic growing practices. Cascadia Mushroom’s 7,000 square feet of insulated growing space produces around 500 pounds of a variety of certified organic mushrooms each week, including Shiitake (their most popular variety), Oyster, Lion’s Mane, Reishi and more.

Their goal as a farm is to nurture fungi’s innate ability to cleanse the soil and heal the environment, to teach others about that ability and to spark a little of the same inspiration that drives their work every day. To that end, Cascadia Mushrooms offers a variety of workshops and resources for local gardeners including mushroom compost, mushroom growing kits and mushroom growing workshops.

Enrich Your Garden with Mushroom Compost

Mushroom compost is extremely nutrient rich. Photo courtesy: Cascadia Mushrooms.

Cascadia Mushrooms will be selling mushroom growing kits and nutrient-rich mushroom compost during Whatcom Conservation District’s 24th Annual Native Plant Sale on March 25 at Whatcom Community College.

The annual plant sale aims to promote the stewardship and conservation of our local natural resources. The plants sold at this sale are considered to be “conservation grade,” so instead of being graded on ornamental value, they are graded on their ability to survive. Growing native plants in your yard can help improve the area’s water quality, reduce wind and soil erosion, clean the air, and beautify your property. Experienced conservationists will be available to answer questions about native plants and you can pick-up high-quality, organic mushroom compost while you’re there.

“When folks are buying their native plants they can buy our compost directly through Whatcom Conservation District,” shared Winstead.

Mushrooms grow from the tops and sides of sawdust logs, perched on rows of shelves at the farm. Once the fungi has been harvested, the logs are broken down and turned into compost with a little help from Mother Nature. The result is an organic compost that is rich in nutrients and is perfect for garden use. “Worms move in and do their thing and create a really nice compost for backyard veggie farmers,” Winstead explained.

The Whatcom Conservation District’s 24th Annual Native Plant Sale and 10th Annual Expo will be happening from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 25 in the Roe Pottery Studio at Whatcom Community College.

Local Mushrooms at Your Fingertips at the Bellingham Farmers Market

These locally grown mushrooms come in all shapes and sizes. They are almost as much fun to see as they are to eat. Photo courtesy: Cascadia Mushrooms.

Bellingham Farmers Market supports local, sustainable agriculture by connecting the public with local farmers, artisans and other producers in an economically viable marketplace. What started as a dream for the founding members has grown into one of the largest farmers markets in Washington State, and a destination for both locals and tourists. Their 25th season opens Saturday, April 1 with a fun celebration for the whole family.

Cascadia Mushrooms will be at the market every week starting with the big opening weekend festivities. In addition to offering fresh mushrooms to use in delicious meals at home, Cascadia Mushrooms will be selling mushroom growing kits for DIY-lovers, nutrient-rich mushroom compost for gardeners and mushroom advice from the pros.

The Bellingham Farmers Market’s 25th season will commence on Saturday, April 1, starting with Mayor Kelli Linville’s cabbage toss at 9:45 a.m. See their website for details.

Mushroom Growing Workshops

cascadia mushrooms
Cascadia Mushroom’s workshops include plenty of time for questions, hands-on activities, and handy tips and tricks to help students start off on the right foot. Photo courtesy: Cascadia Mushrooms.

Our cold, snowy winter has many home gardeners anxious to start digging and planting. Cascadia Mushrooms will be offering a Mushroom Growing Workshop on April 29 that will give gardeners of any background a fun, new addition to their yard.

“People get excited for spring, especially after such a long winter,” shared Winstead. “Plus spring is a great time to get things started because of the mild weather and lots of rain.” Cascadia Mushroom’s hands-on, half-day classes will include a tour of their impressive facility, tips and tricks for gardening with mushrooms (for both indoor and outdoor growing) and the opportunity to ask questions and learn from the local mushroom experts. Plus the work you do now will offer delicious rewards later – Mushroom patches started in the Spring will produce in the Summer or Fall.

Cascadia Mushroom’s Spring Mushroom Growing Workshop will be held on April 29 at their farm. Learn more and sign-up for the workshop on their website.

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