Running a Mushroom Farm with Erik Lomen of Maine Cap N' Stem

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Running a Mushroom Farm with Erik Lomen of Maine Cap N' Stem

Maine Cap N Stem Started in 2014 cultivating a variety of gourmet mushrooms from spore to store,  then became the first national producer and distributor of Certified Organic Mushroom Substrate for small and large farms across the continental USA. We crack a beer with the founder and dive into some funny stories about navigating the wild world of mushroom farming.

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TRANSCRIPT
Unknown Speaker 0:11 Welcome Welcome you are listening to the mushroom revival podcast. This is your host Alex Dore and we are absolutely obsessed with the funky, psychedelic, amazing, incredible, interesting, weird and wacky world of fungi and mushrooms we bring on guests from all around the globe to geek out with us and go down and mysterious rabbit hole of anything from surface level to super niche and deep realms of of mushrooms and fungi. So today we have Eric from cap and stem fungi and Maine. And we're gonna geek about a mushroom growing in, in the good old Cold northeast. So Eric, how you doing, man? Unknown Speaker 0:57 So, what are you up to? Who? Who is who is Eric? And Unknown Speaker 1:03 how'd you how'd you get into this, this crazy world of mushrooms. Unknown Speaker 1:08 It's Unknown Speaker 1:10 I think, I've always really enjoyed like being in the woods hunting mushrooms, same old story, right. Unknown Speaker 1:17 But around the time of getting out of college, my late wife and I kind of had this apartment in Unknown Speaker 1:25 Portland, Maine, and we were spending a lot of time just kind of like researching hunting mushrooms means full of wild mushrooms is a great spot for it. And I believe about that time, this would be like 2010 2011 There was a product that came out on the market called Gilenya for multiple sclerosis. So my mom's got multiple sclerosis she's had since the 70s. And it was a drug sort of pointed in that direction. And the reason they picked the drug, it took a lot of research to figure out why initially was because Ms isn't predominant on the like Himalayan plateau area. Unknown Speaker 2:04 And they decided to go after that as like a rationalization for why why is there no ms in that region. And they came across like everybody does corny steps and SS and that became the like composition for the drug Gilenya that coincidentally they started to isolate different molecules from Cory sip. And then it became this like trial that unfolded with actually several people dying. And a lot of that's been covered up now. It's really weird. But that was my first like, dip into like, what, like there was just all of this happening at the same time that I was starting to kind of get more into the gourmet side and away from like interest in just psychedelics. And that really perpetuated my interest in it hit all the fronts of like, what is it Gordie said what is what is all the medicine? What is the why is this like killing people? And my mom's got MS. Maybe this is interesting. So that that pulled me right in that was like the first go. Unknown Speaker 3:06 So years later was when I finally started cap and stem maybe three or four years later. Unknown Speaker 3:12 But it was a lot of studying and researching and traveling around the country prior to that. Unknown Speaker 3:18 And so, how has the journey with Captain stem evolved over time? Unknown Speaker 3:25 Yeah, it's evolved in a really kind of weird way. I met my business partner Christopher through his wife, Lisa, and Lisa is a printmaker, and I have like an art background just a bunch of hurt nerds. And we went out foraging a bunch and then my late wife Frankie and I we traveled around the country. So you know, we read about this crazy coreset mushroom, there's no real research it was like John holidays papers or whatever, there wasn't anything out there that time for the most part that was very accessible. So he came across a farm in Chino Valley, Arizona, and Unknown Speaker 4:03 we basically pitched to them that you know, we could start a mushroom farm on their land and, and sort of give them a go. They were an interesting couple, they have like, immense amount of wealth coming from the Arizona Valley. And they just wanted to start a farm and their concept of starting a farm was you have to make a big farm to be Successful Farming not always true. Unknown Speaker 4:25 And they kind of gave us a black credit card you know those magical looking black Amex cards and we just kind of went to town building mushroom farm. Unknown Speaker 4:36 I built one out there that sort of scene fell apart in an interesting way. But you know, it was everything from like the standard side your fogger now wasn't hydropower is the Aqua fogger that big blue motherfucker. And just all of his like air systems and old school wet bulb humidistat and such and we built the lab is all coined after the Roger Rabbit sort of set Unknown Speaker 5:00 up so there's lots of shimmery stuff. So my head sort of was dipped into that categorical psychosis of the shimmery and trying to figure out how to do these things and cultivate. And after figuring it out over about a year and a half period two year period in Arizona, I came back east because Arizona sucks. No offense. You're out there. So hot, so I can handle it. And I'm just, Texas is hot. But Arizona is just a different breed. That's just crazy. Yeah, for anybody but lizards. Unknown Speaker 5:34 So yeah, so we built this farm out there. And then I came back and I had already had this like, friendship with Lisa and Christopher and Unknown Speaker 5:44 I told him you know, we were doing and we had gone everywhere from like growing weed up and you know, murder mountain before it was called that all the way down to Arizona to grow mushrooms. And we were just hitchhiking and traveling and farming. And I had kind of put it out of my head because I put so much energy and emphasis on building this first mushroom farm. talking to nobody, you know, like, there's nobody really out there besides these usernames on the shimmery and you don't know any of them. So you're like, Who are these people? So yeah, back in my business partner now Christopher. Him and Lisa like, took me out to dinner in Portland. And they're like, you know, I think we should like keep going with this. And I was like, oh, yeah, I was living in my like, Honda Civic dude, like, down by the water. Be Unknown Speaker 6:28 like, Cool. Sounds like if you give me one of those art studios, the building you've got then Yeah, dude, we can make a lab and I'll just live perpendicular in the square, you know, room with with the lab and the flow hood above my head every night. So I did that for a long time. Unknown Speaker 6:44 And all the while watching like mushroom adventures. That crazy dude on YouTube. I think he's Buckeye on the shimmery. And that was wild. It's interesting. That Kai like kind of freaked out and disappeared. He thought the feds are watching him for grown mortals or something. But he also had a large Psychedelica so go figure. I'm sure it's just the Morales. Unknown Speaker 7:06 But he was doing cool stuff. He's gonna like king oyster on cottonseed haul logs that are massive. You still see these he had this great logo. It was like mushroom adventures like lightning and shit. Unknown Speaker 7:17 So I'm watching all this stuff, trying to like reimagine, like what a mushroom farm could look like from the ground up. This is my second attempt at it. And all the while Christopher's just like just do it. Let's do it. So we just start continuing to grow it and our first grows in the basement of space gallery in Portland, Maine. And there's still a vent there, that's all clogged and spores and shit. And you can see it every time you pass it. It's a it's just growing mushrooms under this red art and music venue. And then we moved to Westbrook got this 3000 square foot building and just started freaking mushrooms, same time nor spore malsum. Unknown Speaker 7:54 Eric at New Hampshire mushroom company, this whole New England like myriad of mushroom farms was emerging. And we're stoked, but kind of scared of one another because we were like, you know, competition. Not really, we each probably had like negative, you know, 1000 bucks in the bank, going on fucking buckets. Unknown Speaker 8:13 But we'd be we started become friends with them. And, you know, eventually there became this really weird, naturalistic split up where Norse boar is making spawn, we were making substrate. And Mausam was feeding the most mushrooms in the state. And between the three of us and Eric, and he entered in this border store thing. We had this great sort of interaction with the four of us for a very long time, before businesses started to evolve, and that was like, that's the crux of where Cap and stem started. We've always wanted to sort of like continue fruiting mushrooms. But at the point at which we were Unknown Speaker 8:51 deciding to really like, get away from fruiting mushrooms was the point at which we really understood that we couldn't be competition to our customer if we were gonna go the substrate route. And so we just gave it up, you know, except for trials and stuff like that. And even today, I don't think people know we don't free mushrooms. They're like, why would you do that? Like, maybe we should? I don't know. Unknown Speaker 9:15 Yeah, so that's a roundabout way of how we kind of got there. It's crazy. You bring up, Glenn Yeah. Going, going back to one of the first things you said. I talk about that in every talk that I give, because in 2017 It it gained around $2.5 billion in revenue, that drug. And it's from a fungus that grows on a cicada. Like it's a weird fungus that if you found it in the woods, you'd be like, oh, like most people, you know, and I tell people all the time, like Unknown Speaker 9:51 it's the weird fungi that like are grown on weird bugs that most people would find gross. It's like that could be $2.5 billion a year. Unknown Speaker 10:00 and be saving people's lives or, you know, or maybe not. But But yeah, I mean, it's, it's it's crazy that you know, there's there's so many things that you could do with fungi and and it's funny you brought up mushroom adventures as that's one of the first mushroom farms I ever visited when I was, you know, yeah, yeah, dude I visited like this was probably eight years ago or maybe close to 10 When I was first getting into mushrooms and probably 10 years ago now and that was one of the first mushroom farms I visited. And he was like packing mushroom things. He had a pet pig. Unknown Speaker 10:38 While this experience ever and I like who is this guy and where was he with the focus is still Yeah, i Dude, I literally was just talking about him yesterday with you know, Josh googans. I think you've brought him on the show. Yeah, he's in Texas, too. And we're just talking about growing mushrooms and shipping containers. I was like, oh, yeah, I visited this farm back in the day. And this guy was grown in shipping containers. But it was it was hot as hell. So you had this weird like, Unknown Speaker 11:06 system to like, use like a swamp Unknown Speaker 11:10 retrofitted swamp fogger to like, cool it down and humidifier at the same time. And it's so funny that you just brought it because I was just talking about him yesterday. Unknown Speaker 11:23 And you know, I started in the Northeast dude. Like, ya know, I grew up I lived most of my life in the Northeast is just recently I'm down in, in hottest fuck Texas. But yeah, I'm growing, growing mushrooms in the northeast, like all my life. So yeah, I'm using the winters I was seeing some of your videos when you were renting space from from Julia or something you're like, using your autoclave for? Yeah, we were right down the road from Julia. We were like, That's what, three minutes down the road. And when I moved into the space, I didn't even know she was there. Yeah, until like, a couple months later. And, and yeah, we like, every other weekend, we, you know, use your autoclave. And, you know, it's cool. It's like in the mushroom space. I feel like we're all kind of competitors. But we all you know, get along and are most of us Unknown Speaker 12:19 are trying so hard to like really push that push that like envelope of really getting people to communicate with one another. I feel like that's my job now mostly is the job description is, hey, do you know so and so you should talk to so and so you guys should work something out, you don't grow anything at the same things like collaborate, you know, expand and grow your markets together. And I do think that sentiment is like growing in popularity, people are so interested in being like, it's mine. Unknown Speaker 12:46 There's still that and there I feel like as long as there's humans that ate there, there will it's kind of part of human nature, unfortunately, but at the same time, there's room for everybody and that's that's what's great about the space is like there's so much to do in the mushroom space. And it's cool I mean, I kind of wanted to ask why you picked just focusing on mushroom blocks but I think like I've seen this with pretty much every mushroom business is like you just got to pick like you can't do everything you know yeah as much as you want to. So what was your kind of reasoning for like focusing in on mushroom blocks? is crazy I just recorded an intro for episode we did with Lou from Kiss for myco wizards and I talked about this a little bit in that intro mostly because it just occurred to me like why we did what we did you know, these things get layered and you forget, and then you're on just a you know, a total fucking steamroll. And you're like, what are we even doing? Unknown Speaker 13:47 Why are you in Texas man? You know, it's that sort of thing. But you ask yourself these questions and then little memories come up. So Unknown Speaker 13:56 we were growing mushrooms in three different fruiting rooms in Westbrook. 3000 square feet of steaming, inoculating, incubating and then fruiting, harvesting, grating packing and fresh mushroom sales and distribution were everything. Farmers markets, restaurants, we did a lot and 3000 square feet. And that's when we brought on our third business partner that we eventually bought out just a few years back, just because he wasn't in it anymore. But Unknown Speaker 14:24 in that time period because of Northport because of malsum There was this natural predilection to like go in our specialties none of them were making blocks they like didn't like none of them knew how or even thought about the sawdust block this is still like Norse for fucking shoving straw through chippers you know trying to figure out what what thing a weed whacker like how do you get started Unknown Speaker 14:49 I can still see John like just with a cool the junk I read this like weird ball jars like the biggest Baldr I've ever seen, but he's trying to get a chicken of the woods out of it and it was like freeing from the fucking like Unknown Speaker 15:00 A filter patch back when they were just really bad filter patches, and simultaneously some dude in the background just like weed whacking straw. And I see this so like viscerally in my memory. Unknown Speaker 15:13 Every every mushroom farm ever has the most like, jerry rigged hacks like, like nothing you you have to do like the weirdest hack things in the mushroom space like you got to Jerry Rig Everything that you do like is constantly like, alright, what what? Like how can I take this like household item? And like, yeah, take the, you know, solder this thing onto it and like fucking like duct tape this thing and like, you know, it's it's really funny, like all the Reddit threads that like everyone has their own tech and everyone's doing this weird thing that but it works like, that's all it matters. You know? It's like if it works, it works. Yeah, man, if it ain't broke, just try and break it more, you know? That is the mushroom way fail forward as somebody like Jordan gent or somebody said down there in Texas. Unknown Speaker 16:05 failing forward with fungi. Exactly. But yeah, we got to this weird point where we had to move out of that space. There's this fucking nut job of a human who he our friend is the landlord and own this building. But he only with a few other people in this guy had decided that he had reinvented pin setting for bowling. Like who free invents pin so there's nothing wrong with it. You know? Like, are you fucking kidding me? You bet in the back of bowling alley. It's like just spare motors and shit everywhere. So whatever. This guy convinced the dude that owned one of the largest. Unknown Speaker 16:41 I don't know what exactly it was, but it was like a large laboratory for, you know, medical, whatever's in Portland to give him all this money to develop this pin setter. So he is developing these bins that are opening a bowling alley at the same time, oddly enough, and they needed to put a kitchen in the bowling alley, so they needed to come right up through our 3000 square feet. Unknown Speaker 17:05 People were like this case. batshit crazy. I'll save you the suspense. There's no new pinsetter the guy was just fucking scamming to do that. Now, dude, you're gonna say like he couldn't use it to set pins but you jerry rigged it to like fill bags with spawners. Oh, would have been even better did I was expecting that's where the story was gonna go. But that's not it's just a crazy person. So we had to get out of that building. That would be really cool, though. That guy was too crazy. He drove around at a BMW but like in slippers, you know, and he just had no money. It was like an old BMW, you know? So you're like, clearly your status is unaware to itself. But Unknown Speaker 17:44 yeah, so we moved out of there. And I I remember, we had so much in incubation. And we really had to be out of there. And it was all chateaugay And I got to know Aaron and consolidates pretty well from mouse and Valley. And I had heard like rumors of this motherfucker. I was like, oh, Aaron, he came from Hawaii. You know, and this is when the boxing gloves go up and you're kind of like, oh, no competition. But Aaron and I got pretty close, homey wise and not at first. But I went down there and I'd never been to another mushroom farm other than like Eric's in New Hampshire. Unknown Speaker 18:18 And as the years went by, or should target blocks, and though it's a nurse for and as a you want to buy or for rooms, the and I went basically to my business partner and I was like, we need to just like go away now. And that was my first goal of trying to just sell everything to get to our new space. And then this dude comes in from Rhode Island batshit crazy amphetamine Crazy guy. He just knocks on our door one day, Joey Langworthy still owes us like $1,400 And Unknown Speaker 18:47 maybe it's a PSA if you run into it Unknown Speaker 18:51 I can't hold it against him because he literally comes in he goes you know they'll kiss and I was like I don't know what you're saying I don't know what you know what does it matter you know and he's like this place is where I get my box from you're gonna make box for me I was the first person that just like say it in my business partner had said it for a while he's like there's an actual business in just selling this product but because this is prior to like good yields. You're really lucky to get a quarter to half pound on a five pound block using just fucking you know, raw red oak sawdust, you know, shoveled with questionable moisture content and other microbial activity with like brand new got from the fucking Co Op and do the squeeze test. Unknown Speaker 19:35 So like we didn't know, we knew we could make X amount of pounds come out of the stock buck, especially because this is like the 3782 revolution. So Moulson bought the blocks and Northport got the fruiting rooms and Joey Langworthy came along and he's bugging my ear the whole time. We're transitioning up to gardener which is where we're still at, in addition to the building we just bought to expand into and he's like Unknown Speaker 20:00 Made me 140 My taki blocks and I was like, okay, so I called John Donoghue from Northwest mycological. And I was like, What's your best my taki strain. And then Kim gets on the phone and Kim starts yammering about like all the things I have to do to prepare for growing my Taki. John gets back on the phone, I'm like, Okay, so are like, not a lot of my talk, you know, but this should have been an indicator that it wasn't going to be very easy. So he grew out. And he had Joey rented some weird, like, u haul ask van for like, it was hourly instead of mileage. So he came in flying in, like 5am hadn't slept in like four days, filled the thing filled the entire van up with blocks, and then took off and we never saw him again. So I was like, Well, if this is any indicator of how substrate sales goes, We're fucked, you know. So I was like, let's start designing for rooms. Let's build into this place in Gardiner, which is like an hour north of where you're getting out of. And at that time, Olga was, you know, jamming away, and Malson was jamming away. All these farms started to come out of the woodwork just wanting some straight. And the pride was dropping, where you were like, Oh, I gotta, I gotta do everything from sports store, I'm a failure. And they're like, No, we just want to actually eat and then like, go home and have a life. You know, that's what we provided in the beginning. Just shipping blocks to people on dry trucks across the country, wherever, and not knowing what the fuck we're doing. But people were stoked. And then we just kept refining it. So it was accidental in that sense, but it was also like, coincidental that all these people came in, you know, but there were third dark winners were like, nobody was coming and knocking on our door for substrate. And we're like, oh, maybe you should grow mushrooms. Dude, it's, it's hard to do everything yourself, especially without Unknown Speaker 21:52 I'm happy. They're making like all these different machines now to automate certain process processes. Because dude, back in the day, I was like, shoveling masters mix on a concrete floor with a shovel to mix it. And then like hand filling every every bag with like, a diagonally cut plastic milk jug, you know, and to using that as the scooper. And then like hand folding it and hand putting each one on the on the cart to rock in. And it's like, yeah, I remember every day I get home from from work and just fall asleep in the shower. And it was just like, this sucks, dude. And then and then the farmer was working out, like transition to getting blocks, you know? And it was like, Oh, my God, that's, that's amazing. You know? Unknown Speaker 22:42 Yeah, I mean, you just, you can't do everything. And if you you make a network that, Unknown Speaker 22:48 you know, you can coordinate of, like, Hey, I'm going to do this step of the process. And you do that steps because I want to get home to my family and like, not burn out. Like, I want my adrenals to be working for years. Like it's not sustainable to mushroom heart. Farming is hard on your body, dude, like you need, you need to automate a lot of the systems that you need, you know, you need a network of different people like doing each of the steps and focus on what you're good at. It's true, man, it's very true. And that specialization is something we've been touting since then. Just because we've been there through this weird boom of thing a lot of people have this ego around like, Oh, my company built this industry. We're just like, accidentally there or like, oh, cool, let's ride this way to get better at business, I guess, you know, and yeah, we make a lot of inroads because we do work with the people who are bringing that stuff in now like Kyle is bringing in these baggers but Unknown Speaker 23:47 to which we utilize auto spawners the whole nine yards that Japan has just fucking made sense of and we're just catching up you know? And they're just looking at us like we're Unknown Speaker 24:00 but I remember like you know, because we bought a pack Mixer from this catalog this like weird lawn and garden catalog. We got that half yard pack mixer for $4,000 because it was mistakenly like priced like nobody's gonna buy this house. Yeah, yeah. So but six months delivery it so he kept calling it the unicorn in the minute we got that we got that down in that 3000 square foot space took us all day to get it in, you know, no forklift, nothing. We're like Unknown Speaker 24:29 fucking amateurs. Unknown Speaker 24:33 You got it done. You gotta get it done. Yeah, and I think that was the spark where equipment wise we were stoked on the process. I was done with mushrooms done with getting spore long done with just like the volatility of fresh products. I was like everybody else can have that shit. I don't want it I already fucked it up by telling everybody they're eight bucks a bouncer? reuses press most poor. Yeah, it's nuts. I had a co worker gets for long and he had to go in the ER and get Unknown Speaker 25:00 It steroids and stuff. It's no joke, dude. If you're like trapped in a room and you got 1000s of blocks, just sporulating and you're just breathing in, it's especially oysters do it's like no joke. There. There's a lot of spores, that you're just huffing and if that's if you're a picker, that's your job. Like, that's your only job and you're in the fruiting rooms for hours and hours every day. Unknown Speaker 25:24 Not good. Unknown Speaker 25:26 Yeah, like vapes are one thing, but you're just vaping spores on. Like, it's not a very like specific feeling like I just was over doing some filming with our friend Sean and cat from wild readings. And they're gonna guess the sell them box, bro. Best mushrooms. It's a great deal. Like when they're in close proximity do block producer in shot was my first employee. So the fact that he's still going blows my mind. But I was in his room or filming or whatever. And I was like, Yeah, let's help Sean finish harvesting for the day. And he's got these two like 12 by 24 foot rooms, fair amount of blocks, but we're just talking about harvest. And I'm like, the next morning I woke up and I was like, Oh, my God, I hadn't felt this for almost 10 years. I was like, fuck, Unknown Speaker 26:10 I can't handle this man. I should have put a respirator on, you know, but I did. Unknown Speaker 26:17 So for people that Unknown Speaker 26:22 have you seen how it's made? yet? So I don't know what that network that that does it. But for people who who've never gone, maybe it's never been never grew mushrooms or made mycelial blocks or whatever? Like, what what's your process now? And how has it evolved over over time? Yeah, you know, it's remarkably the same. Unknown Speaker 26:44 Now as it was back then, and Unknown Speaker 26:48 the small things that we've figured out are what we're trying to share via like these platforms like myco wizards and such. Now, Unknown Speaker 26:55 they're very simplistic, but it's almost like, you know, the variables within this industry really cause such an upset if you change one of them, it changes three of them, right? So we just got really focused on that process. And that process is essentially taking any raw material that's, you know, sought us based or doesn't necessarily have to be Unknown Speaker 27:20 other agricultural waste products or byproducts from other industries that are natural and non toxic. You take those, you bring them up to a hydration point, and you put them in these polypropylene bags. For a longest time, they were five pound bags of just this, like wet soil saw this stuff, right. And then this 10 pound revolution came along. And I described these things as synthetic locks. So essentially, the heartwood is all this material that you're hydrating and getting ready to sterilize. And then the bag is bark, the filter is basically, you know, call it cracks in the tree. Unknown Speaker 27:55 So what we're doing is we're taking this like, Unknown Speaker 27:59 material where sterilizing or ultra pasteurizing, in our case, Unknown Speaker 28:04 and we're allowing that to get up to, you know, just over 205 to 210 Fahrenheit, you can't go past 212 Fahrenheit at sea level without it being pressurized. And pressure introduces all sorts of issues for substrate. This formulation of what we call a substrate block then gets cooled down in a hyper HEPA filtered laboratory, and then gets inoculated with what everybody mostly knows now this spot. Unknown Speaker 28:31 It's sealed, and it moves to incubation. And it's funny to talk to these old guards now and that whole guards but older people in general, they're like so what is your mushroom farm look like? Then what are they imagine they imagined like mushrooms in a field? They're like, do you just go out there and like pick up these so you pick them? And for the longest time I was like, that is so far from the truth. But yeah, and sometimes you say Yeah, right. But I've we're doing research for this up and coming myco is your deep dive about oyster cultivation. And that's exactly what they fucking did for oyster cultivation was called trench cultivation. And they would just feel fields full of you know, at the time, just like paddy straw. And they would just so it with mushroom, mushroom, whatever, you know, it is mycelium or is Grant spot depends on if it was 1780 or if it was 1910 Unknown Speaker 29:21 that was a huge way to cultivate it. They were just picking in the field. So I mean it's still a thing in Southeast Asia. I mean, of course yeah, for sure. Especially with paddy straw and stuff like I mean there's it's so funny. Unknown Speaker 29:36 It I love when you have a really high tech way to grow mushrooms and you're having you're having problems and you're getting contamination and then you like see the posts or you go somewhere and they're like growing mushrooms outside like, like, like the dirtiest tech ever and it's the most low tech thing possible and they're like getting zero Unknown Speaker 30:00 contamination and you're you're there and like your high high proof lab and you're like getting all this contaminants you're like what the hell? Unknown Speaker 30:08 Yeah, well this industry is so split in terms of like, the importance on making these precursory products which I call like cultures or substrate or spawn. And then the raw material comes in plant both sides, right. But then there's fruiting and fresh mushrooms sort of like Unknown Speaker 30:27 fruiting rooms have all sorts of different design issues. Some of them are fascinating like you're saying like they're they'll just grow outside or in the dirtiest warehouse kiss is just old Agaricus doubles with no humidification systems in a 30 ton H HVAC unit that just recirculate Unknown Speaker 30:43 help, why does it work? But then you go to somewhere in between a super small farm with tons of ultrasonic humidification that's trying to like, you know, enriching the lives of these mushrooms that are dying and blotches and then you go to Kyle they're trying to go kings and they can't go kings you go to Kyle's over and Farwest fungi. And he's like, Why does everybody just take the bag off the block after they pin dumbasses and like keep the humidity down? And I'm like, I don't know. I haven't thought of that in 15 fucking years, Kyle. So now I'm going to like start sharing that. Thanks very much for that. So everybody has their own process, but I think that yeah, for the layman, in terms of how it works, it's just taking raw material, sterilizing it, keeping it semi hermetically sealed in an alkylating that mushroom mycelium. Mother, do you guys use grain spawn or liquid spawn to inoculate we use grain so our two main products that we sell our grain spawn has become huge since nor spore backed off of the commercial side to it, we just have gone full bore. And we went out to my Celia and just basically replicated their, you know, high pressure, you know, vac systems and the things that everyone's like, works, we're just like, Fuck it, let's do it, you know. So we've incorporated the ridiculous, expensive, but also terrifying equipment that are vacuum style out of place from like the pharmaceutical industry into this now. And that's what we do specifically for green spot. But yeah, we produce green spots, substrate, we do equipment, and then raw materials. So these combo pellets. So, you know, years back, you couldn't actually like get raw materials, you had to go get hardwood fuel pellets, and then find some sort of a meditative, you know, that's something high nitrogen or protein or fiber, all three hopefully. And that has become soybean holes for so many people in this master's mix. So we worked a lot with Brad coons to really develop this distribution network of his general idea, which was a combination pellet. And now there's, you know, at least six Mills making this stuff for different companies distributing it around the country, which is really rare, because it does sort of decentralize the availability, even though it's centralizing the production of these pellets. For the longest time, people relying on hardwood fuel pellets is their main sawdust source. Nobody has fucking pellet stoves. Unknown Speaker 33:05 They're like, ridiculously inefficient, they're kind of you know, irresponsible. Unknown Speaker 33:11 Everybody here has them like in their you know, double wide trailer home like the pipe out the window, and you're like, oh, man, this catchy so man's basically like, if we'll just pay you to take those out of your house now. So the pellet industry went went away, and Unknown Speaker 33:27 and we kind of ourselves in the mushroom industry, and then the barbecue pellets, picked up the slack, and started to refine that raw material even more. So. Yeah, I'm jumping all over the place of that. But that's like a very, like, strange, variable, ask history based lesson in the dissociations of the stuff you were talking about, like taking the bag off for King oysters, and I'm sure there's been a million things of like, different texts or pieces of equipment that you're like, Oh my God, if I just did that sooner, this whole process would be way easier. So might be a hard question. But I can take it whatever way you want. But if you knowing all that you do now, if you if someone Unknown Speaker 34:15 you know, Unknown Speaker 34:17 took you back in time to the beginning of you know, Captain stem with, you know, Unknown Speaker 34:23 a fat check. And you know, all the knowledge that you have now like what what would you do differently? Unknown Speaker 34:32 Hold it differently. Unknown Speaker 34:36 I think putting an emphasis on the timeline in which we've been in this business, it's really hard to, like pin it to one particular thing, just because so much has changed, but one thing I would have done is just gone to the Far East. Unknown Speaker 34:53 I mean, I would have just gone there and be like, awesome, because our only resources here especially for equipment and concerning what happens then Unknown Speaker 35:00 This is to rely upon, you know, all of these other sort of weird, semi ingenious, but haphazard, like what you're saying are completely ridiculous concepts of like how to like get a material to be a smaller material or how to get a bag on a bag holder, or how to seal bags. You know, I think I would have gotten there and just been like, cool if we spent 200 grand on equipment. Unknown Speaker 35:24 We just don't have to think about this anymore. But that being said, it's changed so much now. So like that equipment in Japan is not the same equipment that's in China. And isn't the same equipment that was available back then. So you remember those, like early shotgun sort of revolver type bagging systems? This is probably why Oh, yeah. And pinsetter went to it, right. Yeah. For the for the tiny bags, too. Unknown Speaker 35:50 Yeah, those are so efficient, like in regards to labor. And Japan is ingenious in the sense that they just don't want to. They don't want to do it. Why they were selling them to? Yeah, do they're great. Yeah. Take Unknown Speaker 36:07 the awesome deal on them. Totally. Unknown Speaker 36:10 Yeah, ya know, but they've come so far. And like, you know, Kyle imports, his Japanese baggers from a Japanese company, and they're so fast. I mean, 700 to 900 bags an hour, you're just I'm just standing there watching this thing. He came over for myco Fest this past weekend. And that William puts on down there and PA, and he came up afterwards to help us a little bit with it. And I was like, Jesus, man, like, you're just watching this thing, make bags and just kind of smiling instead of watching people just for Unknown Speaker 36:42 Yeah, it's good. Yeah, man. Unknown Speaker 36:46 The engineers in Germany, Japan and China are just in a whole different league. Like they, it's, it's insane. And that's the cool part of, you know, Unknown Speaker 36:58 when I visited, like, New Hampshire mushroom company, like, I think I only met with its two co founders, right? Versus just one, but I know he wants to be an engineer and like, Oh, you're talking about Keith. Yeah. Unknown Speaker 37:15 And yeah, it's like, cool. All the innovations they come up with or Ecovative I don't know if you've ever gone there. But like, they're like, Yeah, we just like took this like asparagus. blancher. And we took this machine from Hershey's, and we like, and it's all automated. And then we have this laser that detects the humidity and like, it's just like, What the fuck? And like, they're like, Yeah, you just press a button, and then it just makes it. Unknown Speaker 37:41 And I'm like, oh, and they're like, Yeah, we're not mushroom people. We're just engineers. Like, it just makes sense. And you need engineers to like figure this out. Unknown Speaker 37:50 Because I love pure mushroom people. But they're not engineers legs. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I mean, you need a systems thinker to like, make this equipment and make machines to make everyone's life easier. Because at the end of the day, we all want to go home, we want to spend time with friends and family, we eat good food and get out in the woods. Like we think we're getting into mushrooms to like, spend more time with mushrooms. And we actually do like just Unknown Speaker 38:18 spend the least amount of time with mushrooms. And we're just like killing ourselves semi masochistic. But at the end of the day, it's all it's all good. Unknown Speaker 38:28 Right? And it's for some something keeps you going in the direction you're going and the stuff that keeps me going in the direction I'm going I know is just the obsessive compulsive interest and curiosity. And luckily, there's enough curiosity in this industry and in this business to feed many, you know, people who have similar brains, Unknown Speaker 38:47 which is awesome. Unknown Speaker 38:50 Is there a current step of the process now that you're like, oh, man, if I just had that one piece of equipment, or like, if I if I just solved that, that one thing? Unknown Speaker 39:02 What what would that be? Yeah, there's been a couple of companies sort of working on this. Some are quieter than others because they've either failed miserably or they're getting close, then a lot of it comes down to this inline production. So we basically have Unknown Speaker 39:19 the issue of time, then that time delay also has more hands involved in the process from mixing the bags to putting the bags into steam, you know, boxers sterilizer retort to cooking them for X amount of time and the failures are associated with boilers and retorts to then pulling them out into a clean space quote, unquote, then might have a bad HEPA filter might have a faulty fan power myco all these things are issues right. So the thing that a few different people have been developing and we've been working on for a long time is basically just like you put a sterile bag up to a chute in outcomes the Lambert idea spa, which is just sterilized, inoculated, ready to go material that you just seal Unknown Speaker 40:00 and sending incubation, that conceptual Unknown Speaker 40:06 algorithm if you will, and all of the ins and outs of how that happens can be done on a very small scale. And it's been done on a few really large scales as well, even if people don't want to talk about it, because they feel like that's their competitive edge. Right. It's the ideal because you're taking people out of it, and you're streamlining the process. And nobody does that. Like not even Japan, not even China. No, like massive industrial swings have happened to make that happen because of the costs and the need for those engineer brains. For as a product. Yeah. Yeah. I've, I've seen I've seen farms do it with both grain and I think the coolest is liquid. Unknown Speaker 40:50 Yeah, I just I just have a soft spot for for liquid culture. For some reason. I feel like it just made made my cultivation journey a lot easier. Unknown Speaker 41:00 But yeah, just like having Unknown Speaker 41:03 a bioreactor hooked up to your, your conveyor belt, and you just like, it said at one, one milliliter of liquid culture each bag and it's just like smarts out each bag, or whatever. And we're so fascinated with like, the core DCEP injection of like, oh, yeah, smoke. Yeah, that was great. We had like a vaccine gun that we use, but it was never, you know, it was like, hooked up to Mason jars full of liquid culture. Like it was not, it was definitely you still had to manually press the things. And they would break all the time, because they were like, not meant for commercial production at all and shitty peristaltic pumps. Yeah, and even Yeah, those were clogged and break all the time. But, you know, like, we did it on on a major budget. Like, there's definitely if I were to do it again, and I had more money, then I would do it way differently than what we did. But even you know, I've seen you know, Aloha medicinals I did an internship like 10 years ago with them. Oh, you heard of that will seem like my heckfield No, I think I was the last internship that they ever accepted. And I had to really talk my way into it. And they, they denied me at first and I was like, dude, I'll you know, whatever. And Unknown Speaker 42:23 Brooks Brooks was my, he was my like, mentor at the time, which is sweet and, but they were using like, I guess one of their employees was like a bartender as well. And they use like the one ounce, you know, that like thing that they put on alcohol bottles to like, only pour out one ounce or two ounces or whatever, they use that little thing at the end? Yeah, they use that on a liquid culture jar. And then they just did so they could measure, you know, the perfect amount of liquid culture in each bag. And so that's what they used is like, jerry rigged bartender thing and like so. Yeah, it's so funny. There's like a million ways to do it and everyone's Jerry rigging it but well there's this obsession like you're saying and I know that you along with a lot of other people have this interest in soft spot for liquor culture, but like your culture at scale is a very different thing than the people who can do it at scale. People like I tell spawn or you know, just even the actual like giants of the industry when it comes down to spawn inoculation. They have it so dialed in, in between that is like a plethora of chaos and if you don't know what you're doing, and you're not properly preserved, preserving these things, and you're not testing and you don't have these inverted, you know, fermenter systems that you know, massive skills like you you're gonna fuck up bad. I personally fucked up a lot of batches with contaminated liquid culture that I didn't know is contaminated. And we just had a short timeline and we're just I was like, run it run it and it's clean. Unknown Speaker 44:01 Came to bite me in the ass and I was like all right, no more no more we got to test every single batch you know or else it's we're trike farm Yeah, which hopefully there's money in eventually. Yeah, I mean it's great for gardeners trike is great. I mean it's it's awesome for the soil for sure. Like, yeah, it's interesting. I mean, Aloha has had these fascinating little like they're not secrets but unless you were part of that program you don't know where the evolution of the came from so Brooks brought that like weird blender top to the ball jars all the way right? Exactly. Right. Yeah. Yeah, like masturbating the like Aguilar wedges and shit. And I was like, we've done that a few times since he suggested it and sent us a few as tops but I was like, I don't I get this fascination with it. But that's like my number one battle now and people call and they have a sports store set up in the garage. And they're like, you know, I just use liquid culture and I'm having all these problems and like, did you ever learn how to use Unknown Speaker 45:00 Like plates or ag or you can just buy God's garden now. Yeah, you need to go back there like because you're fucking this up so bad. And it's that's where all of your issues are. And it really hurts some people. They're like, have all these magnetic stirrers and, like, just put them in your closet. You know, I don't know what to tell you. Unknown Speaker 45:19 Go back to plates. Yep. Yeah, it's it's important for sure. Unknown Speaker 45:26 What, what would you say is like the has been the hardest part of this journey? Unknown Speaker 45:32 Like, What? What? What keeps you up at night the most? And has there been a part of the journey or maybe multiple that you've just like, want to throw your hat up and call it quits? Oh, yeah. That many times anybody. I had a friend who owned a bagel shop in Portland. And we're talking one day in this bag, Westbrook so those years ago, and he's looking at me and he's like, just expressing like, all of this was and I'm listened to him while like, you know, fucking making substrate in the garden bag. Like, why are we right now? Trying to do my job and you're just like, you know, waxing poetic at my ass about bagels or some shit? And Unknown Speaker 46:10 he just goes, Yeah, but you wouldn't you wouldn't let it go for the world, would you? And I was like, oh, for the right price or that anything, man. And there's that difference right there between this person who's like romanticized baking, versus like, I'm just trying to find systems and then fucking find my exit strategy. To then people like Joe however, it Forestar, whose dad wrote a book called exit strategy, right? Unknown Speaker 46:34 These extremes, and then I feel like I've been in the middle for a very long time where I've learned one way or another. Unknown Speaker 46:42 But I think the hardest things like, you know, obviously, their life things are life changes, the more you scale, the more your employees have Unknown Speaker 46:51 sort of things that come in and out of their purview of controllability, then you try not to be a dick about it. And you're just like, I get it, okay, you got to take this time off, we have to figure out a way to like, fill this void, because production has to keep going. Those are the things that keep me up at night. Just trying to like, you know, take all of these dozens of employees, and fit them into a place in which they feel like they're part of a culture, they're actually like, the only reason we exist. And they can continue feeling good about what they're contributing to the actual businesses in the structure of, you know, the mushroom world. Not all of them give a shit about mushrooms, most of them just find it interesting. But there's this balance between like, the hyper blue collar like local humans that are just they, they will shake a bag forever, they don't care. And the people who you see shaking bags forever, and they get a little bummed out. And then you find the little thing in which like, excites them. And you're like, I need to develop business now. To just get this person to like, be excited about it. So those are the good and bad things that keep me up at night is mostly the employee side. From 13. Yeah, mushrooms are easy. Yeah, humans are. Yeah, they're weird, for sure. Unknown Speaker 48:09 It's like I've you know, lost a wife in the middle of this whole thing. And it's like, how do you? i There's millions of miles motorcycle riding for me to be like, do I keep doing this? Unknown Speaker 48:20 Maybe I should leave now. Yeah, it's it's funny. When I when I did that internship at Aloha. There's one dude there. And he was like, Yeah, I've been working here for I think he said 20 years or something like that. And he was like, and we were Unknown Speaker 48:38 we had a spawn pack of Unknown Speaker 48:42 Alia she Toki. Right. And it just said, Ellie on the bag. And it was like, Oh, Unknown Speaker 48:48 what is what's the name? Le again, for sure. Toki. And he was like, are like what I was like, What is Ellie's stand for again, he's like, I don't know. He's like, I just, they pay me my check. And I go home and like, I go to my family. And he's just like, and I would ask, like certain employees that have been there for like, 20 years. I'm like, so what is this process do? Or like, what is this step do? Or like, why are we doing this step? And they're like, don't ask me like, I just follow it. I just follow orders to get my check. And I go home, like I don't, they're like, I don't even like mushrooms. Unknown Speaker 49:20 Like I don't eat them. I don't like I don't care what these guys are doing. Like they just pay my bills and like that's it. Unknown Speaker 49:28 And there's some like, that's real and like, I love it. And then there's yeah, there's the folks that got inspired by fantastic fungi and Paul Stamets and they're like, they realize that mushroom farming is not as glamorous as it seems. And like, yeah, like, what is that squirrel that showed it for like two seconds? It was like, one video of William Pitt. He is smiling and then not the rest of life, you know? Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah, no, it's it's uh, and you Unknown Speaker 50:00 need that glamorization you know and like? Unknown Speaker 50:03 But it is funny. It's like, people over glamorize mushrooms as a whole. And they're like, oh, we need to act more like mushrooms and like, we need to act like the mice, like mycorrhizal connections and, you know, it's like, share resources and we all loving mushrooms, like, dude, have you ever heard of quarter sets they like, in fact, insect bodies, like drilled mushrooms out of their heads and like, they're like, nature's metal dude, like that. It doesn't fuck around. Like, we got lava and like wildfires and like, predators, like, If you've run into a polar bear, it will fuck you up in the wild, you know, I mean, like, it's, it's, it's all of it, right. And like, same same with running a mushroom farm. It's like, it is exciting, and is wonderful. And it's brutal. Like, Unknown Speaker 50:57 do Tyler Tyler Crawford, he's my spawn director, and then he co hosts the like, myco was deep dives with us. He's, he's gonna love that you said that. Because we just have so much of that it comes at us where people are like, they identify with mushrooms. I'm like, plants or you know, cool plants are, let's just go back to plants for the rest of life and just you stay away from the mushrooms because you're fucking crazy. I probably don't want you here anyways, you know, but there's that weird connectivity that I don't think has much to do with psychedelics at this point. I think it's just like, This identification with something that they think is somehow similar to them? I don't know. Yeah, there's similar, like, you know, I get it, we like suck in oxygen and breathe co2. And we're not made of white fluffy stuff, though. You know, it's very different. It makes for a good story that that's for sure. And like, you know, stories are great. And if they make your life better than, you know, yeah, it is what it is. And Unknown Speaker 52:00 switching gears a bit, if you similar to the question of like, if you could go back in time and redo anything Unknown Speaker 52:08 going forward. If if you had unlimited money, unlimited team, unlimited time, resources, you name it, like, you know, Unknown Speaker 52:19 Elon Musk got really into mushrooms. He's like, I'm just gonna give you all my money. Like, whatever. Unknown Speaker 52:26 Yeah, what would you do? Yeah, I just fuck off under the sun on a motorcycle. No exit plan. That's my signed, sealed delivered, baby. Mine's pretty simple. Two wheels. And goodbye. Yeah. No, I think when people like, I think it's awesome to have his struggle, like I love like, I didn't grow up with money. I didn't like I still don't have money. I'm stoked. Like to be living in the, you know, I'm rebuilding this motorcycle shop. And I'm living in and turning it into this moto Moto, you know, just weird shop where people can come hang out. And I like the idea of creating cultures. And I think that's probably the most fun that I could have in this industry is perpetuating like an r&d culture. For instance, we've gotten so far away from that Casper was talking about this when you interviewed him in regards to I don't know how long ago that was, if it's fresh in your white coat, I think it was over a year. But yeah, yeah, that's the funny part about these conversations, right? And then you're like, well, Unknown Speaker 53:26 everybody else knows. Unknown Speaker 53:30 He said something along the lines of like, genetic sort of research and breeding programs are, they're gone now for the most part. And he's not wrong in that sense. In the regards of like, the large industrial application of species oysters, you know, Derek is shittaka, there's more of those strands and you could ever need in a million years. But the r&d that surrounds that same sort of brain that is excited by like the biological implications of breeding programs and the equipment that goes into it. And the research that can now be done using the cameras and the different nanotechnology and stuff that didn't exist in the 80s brings that world like flying back, but people aren't as excited by it, because it's a 20 year project. Right. So Gregor, he also works for me, Gregor Jun, from the California. He was we recording this oyster mushroom deep dive, and he said something along the lines of his thing is amazing. This guy just like wrote this book on oyster cultivation in 1904. And then like, that's his life's work. That's it. He never did anything else after that. As far as like you could tell. In nowadays, you have to do 8 million things to make your life seem worth it. Right. So it'd be really cool to slow it down and just focus on r&d. And if somebody gave me money, that's what I do. I'd be like, What can we do you know, like expect for strain for a string? Unknown Speaker 55:00 In development, stream technology, just cultivation in general. I like the idea of the fact that we can recognize yourself as cultivators. That's what humans are, we just cultivate things we don't imagine up and like, bring things out of nowhere we cultivate them, you know, that's what we are Unknown Speaker 55:19 trying to, like r&d our way into the futures. A successful way, I think in in my head of like, actually being sustainable at this fast growing industry, you know, because otherwise, you're gonna get somewhere and be like, Oh, Unknown Speaker 55:33 what do you want to do now? Unknown Speaker 55:36 Yeah, it's, it's, it's also going to be funny. I mean, you're talking about, like, the old yields that people got off the strains that we thought were really good, and then now, now it just like blows it out of the water. And if you look at like cannabis, you know, like the weed or parents smoked back in the day, it was so bad, like sticks and stems and like, out of a break, you know, it's just so it's just, you know, not good, and you had to smoke a ton of it. Now, it's like, you just take one puff, and you're talking to aliens, and just like, insane, just, someone just poured powdered sugar all over it just crystals on crystals. And like, you know, we're gonna see that with with mushrooms too, especially with psilocybin. Like, I'm talking to a few people that are like, oh, yeah, we're gonna use Protoplast fusion to fuse oysters with psilocybin and make oyster strain that has psilocybin in it, and like, all this crazy shit, like, dude, like, there's a point where it's like, All right, we've got a little too far. Unknown Speaker 56:40 But CRISPR is gonna eat that shit away. It's gonna it's gonna be great for those people. It's the weird people like me are like, I like food with mushrooms. And it's just gonna be like, Don't proto plasma my shit, please, you know? Yeah, yeah, the organic programs won't look too kindly on that, for sure. Organic is just such a it's gonna be dead and gone. And five years. How was that process for you? Oh, the organic side. I mean, yeah, honestly, like, now it's this fantastic shell of a thing. And I'm sure you're aware of like a lot of other people, but you just define things as inputs. So you can shit in a bag and call it an input. And that means you can grow mushrooms, almond organically doesn't matter. If you just drank, you know, 10 modelos and ate a bunch of GMO corn, your shit still organic, because it's an input. So we did it for years like and we still do. And we still buy in certified organic materials, the questionable nature of those materials is how organic programs are trying to figure it out. Now, they're trying to do research that goes way back into the supply chain. And it was the thing that I had to argue for a long time with them, because we were one of the first farms in Maine to become certified organic through MOFGA. Is nobody had done it before us successfully because they wanted to certify, like 200 year old oak stance. So we started with oak. And I was like, Okay, I don't know, like who pissed on that tree 200 years ago, what was grown here are right, you can definitely read landscapes and go that rock wall meant there were cattle here versus vegetation. So you want to you want to go that far back? Like your hands up, I don't know how to tell you your coke is organic, what's your definition of it. So for me, it's very much a marketing thing. Unknown Speaker 58:29 But we do try and keep true to it. Because of the standpoint of kind of understanding where these raw materials are coming from. It gives you a good justification of actually understanding like when we're going to run out of soy, the country does run out of soy every year, like they have back stocks and different companies in different, you know, areas for different products that are imported or exported and just passed off as domestic and they're not Unknown Speaker 58:54 the inner workings in the complexities of how commodity crops like grain and other raw materials that aren't just waste products and up in an organic supply chain are questionable at best. Unknown Speaker 59:07 So if you didn't have to label yours as livestock did, you know we thought that this is part of the input thing is Yeah, yeah. Unknown Speaker 59:17 Yeah, Northport Mausam, and a few other farms in Maine, basically came up against the livestock challenge. You just said what's the NOP standard because everything is about the National Organic Program. They don't have one for mushrooms. So I basically said Okay, fuck you. We'll just go to a different certifier who actually says that they're Unknown Speaker 59:38 technically plants. This is where the input thing comes from. Unknown Speaker 59:42 So anybody out there wants to certify their organic mushroom farm and use just regular conventional stuff. You can do that for sure until the NOP decides to change that and actually put language together. Unknown Speaker 59:54 Why they have not done that is built in this you know, mythologized mushroom Unknown Speaker 1:00:00 mafia Pennsylvania thing. That's where all of this sort of like a eruption of resources and energy is put into things like cottonseed holes, right? That's their majority input as a supplement. There's no such thing as organic cotton seed hauls, they don't exist, because organic cotton is it all goes into one direction. And it all goes into beef if it's going to be you know, used as some sort of supplemental feed or it goes into organic clothing lines, right. So the organic cotton seed haul is not an actual product. So you can get a an exemption to just use cottonseed hulls so all Pennsylvania who doesn't rake or may stuff just use this currency holds from planters peanut cottonseed oil fields, Texas, right and your neck of the woods. Should and organic In fact, it's far beyond GMO. Yeah, that's it's funny. I didn't I didn't know what you're talking about. Because Unknown Speaker 1:00:57 we only did it for a quarter steps, which is you know, we don't use cotton see halls or, you know, any wood or anything like that. I mean, it's rice and like, some other weird food grading, you know, great, like, nutritional yeast and shit. But, um, but yeah, that yeah, there's some weird exceptions to the rules that like I mean, it kind of feels like a mafia in a lot of ways. Unknown Speaker 1:01:20 It's, you know, I think if a company you know, at the end of the day, the certifiers just have to do their job. And it's, we can tie them and all sorts of knots to get them to be like, yes, not us in person. But like a farmer can just be like, Oh, no, you know, too many times. And they're like, Fine, you're organic? I don't know what to tell you, Farmer. John, your fucking carrots are organic. Yeah, no, there's a, there's like a funny exception of like, if you're under X amount of revenue, you can just call your Farm Organic. Unknown Speaker 1:01:50 If you fill out something, I think it's like, if you're under 5k, or some, it's like a small thing. And there's some weird exceptions that are like a, you know, like, I don't know about that. It is, you know, it's, it's a system, I think the intention is good. I think the best thing for us that we got out of it was Unknown Speaker 1:02:12 like improving our batch record system, like the the record system that you need for it, is it's pretty intense. Unknown Speaker 1:02:21 And as much as like I was resistant against it, because I'm just like, Dude, I just want to farm like, I don't want to call up an Excel sheet 50 times a day and input all these cell lines to be like, we put in 50 grands of this, like, just shut up, let me farm you know, but it was good to have it, you know, and we have tons of files and data of yields and inputs and everything. And it's like, even the financials, though, man, like you cannot grow a business, nevertheless, a farm without the financial models. And this is I was just talking to Sean ACAT. about this. I was like, Look, we had, we needed a $50,000 loan to move to Gardner to like, do anything? And how do we get that loan, we had to put $50,000 in a bank and let it sit there for like almost four years just to get $50,000. So we're like, why don't we just use that $50,000? Well, you have to like go through bank, you have to like use that whole process. And then once you have traction with data that you're collecting through QuickBooks that's connected to all of the like, crazy stuff that organic stuff will have you do in terms of batch records that lead into invoices and such. It's a challenge. It sucks, but it actually is appealing to like a bank or a financial investor. They're like, Yeah, you guys are not fucking around. And you can show me a p&l that, yeah, anybody could have made that up, but you actually have like, the data to back the p&l up or whatever it is. So that's, I think it's huge that for sure. And, and for r&d, just like, you know, hey, we changed. We added, you know, this, whatever, then this, we got X amount, percent more yield or whatever, and you could just look at it, if you're good at reading data on a spreadsheet. Like, I think it helped us a lot of rather than back in the day, it was just like, oh, yeah, that felt like it was more, it was just kind of it was a little more loosey goosey, but it's great. And then you could look back at like a year ago and be like, ah, remember when we did that test back in the day, and like, you know, it just becomes irrelevant. And again, and then you just look it up and the date and you could find that where it is on the spreadsheet and be like, Yeah, we actually did do that change and you know, did this thing and Unknown Speaker 1:04:38 so that was like the best thing, like the organic logos cool to slap on her stuff. But like, it was really like, having it all categorized and in raw data was like it's just it's just cool to look at that. Unknown Speaker 1:04:54 Like you said, you just like love creating better systems, you know? Oh, and I'm like an art Unknown Speaker 1:05:00 archives by nature so I love like an archival data log of things to dip into and be like, it's kind of like why Allen Rockefellers so like, stoked on specifically the type of genome studying he does is because just fucking numbers you know, and it's like so complicated, it doesn't look like anything this barcoding stuff until you like peel back and you have more of it. And then all of a sudden, that's when patterns emerge and that's when there's like an art to it and you're like this art of archival content and information is like gonna make sense in 10 years you know, we just have to keep putting it in and like giving it off a little facts you know, that we Yeah, chat GPT is going to kind of review it and point out one second so Unknown Speaker 1:05:45 make make AI mushroom farms that we're gonna rule the world. Unknown Speaker 1:05:50 fucking around. Yeah. I don't know if you're open to share by any any big projects that you guys are working on that you're excited about? Yeah. Yeah, I share everything. It's kind of funny in that manner. I don't really have too much. It's Unknown Speaker 1:06:07 only a couple of bodies that Unknown Speaker 1:06:10 are bikers, right? Yeah, there's like this great rumor back in the day and Northport actually made a shirt about it. But this guy Rick Tibbets used to bring mushrooms in from Pennsylvania demand and Unknown Speaker 1:06:22 I worked at Native Maine's distribution company for a long time. And I was just distributing food and that's kind of how I figured out like, he was buying mushrooms. And then I just thought other customers eventually is great. But, you know, my sister Maggie did the same thing when she was working at Whole Foods down in Louisiana. It's what we do, you know? Unknown Speaker 1:06:39 We're little brats. But this guy Tibbets was so pissed because he's telling everybody or you know, I have a mushroom farms down there in Pennsylvania, and I bring him up from here and he had a stronghold on the Portland market. And with all of us coming into it, this is like 2013 and 14. Unknown Speaker 1:06:58 He called the warehouse working near to me one day and was like, you know, you got to worry about those Northport guys and he's going on and on about they're connected with the outlaw motorcycle club and he's just like rambling and making shit up. So they sent it to North spore and then Norris bore made the Northport like mushroom gang T shirts that I don't forget anymore. So funny. So there's always that sort of like insidious like hiding of things like he's not growing mushrooms in Pennsylvania, just buying him Unknown Speaker 1:07:32 but I guess he sold good weed. So that's why everybody bought mushrooms from it, which makes sense now. But from from the standpoint of Captain stab, and myco wizards and all that stuff, we're, we're trying more and more to like, work with farms, we want to do a lot more of that r&d stuff. So we've established a facility in Lewiston, Maine, which is about 30 minutes south closer to a city Lewiston, which is a pretty big Old Mill City. And it's got a sister city, Auburn. And we got 30 acres in 75,000 square feet of buildings. And that is basically being built out as our kind of forever production home and it's got enough land there to really about 10x What we're doing right now for spawn in about six extra substrate. And that's not including like any of the outbuildings and we have this giant like restored three storey Chicken Barn there that we don't really know what to do with yet. Unknown Speaker 1:08:29 And we're kind of pushing to try and figure out what that like structure looks like outside of just production because we've got this plan to make production be very, very like just streamed the things that we've never been able to do. We're just streamlining it from one side to the other respondents substrate sort of running in tandem. Unknown Speaker 1:08:50 You gotta make 40 eggs do ya have already Cordy chicken farm Unknown Speaker 1:08:56 just jerked off a little chickens, man. Unknown Speaker 1:09:00 Yeah, we couldn't there. You never know. Do you have chickens for years and I fed them all the cordyceps substrate and there's like, they actually Unknown Speaker 1:09:09 like lower the cholesterol. The eggs make them twice as sweet. They're like, yeah, it's a thing. And I think it's Japan where they sell the eggs for like twice as much because the quarter seep and infuses in the egg like it's a medicinal egg. It's a real thing. Like they sell like Kodiaks like it's a thing. And the chickens go card for the day. Love it. Yeah. Unknown Speaker 1:09:31 I'm not even. I'm not even joking. Like, go for it. Dude, when I first learned about the beetle thing over in Japan, I was like, what is the average? Like the little pet beetles Unknown Speaker 1:09:42 subsists on the mushroom industry right now like what is happening? And part of like that interest to have like the egg thing that all this stuff is it's happening around the world but there's like less emphasis on like, how do you find out what people are doing in this, you know, sort of venture and, and how do you keep r&d going? Unknown Speaker 1:10:00 So through myco wizards, it's not, you know, just a podcast. But my nephew, my best friend, Mike are sort of turning it into this thing. It's a website. It's just the, you know, it's a paywall sort of thing. But it's a, it's interviews with farms, it's deep dives into, like different cultivation topics. It's fino flicks, you know all these, like cool little videos and interviews of farms all across the country in the world. But what we want to do is spin it off from there to become sort of an r&d hub so that if somebody has a good idea, or somebody has something that they actually want to take on, we want to utilize myco wizards to be able to, like get their idea going if it actually faces a board. And it's like, yes, let's find funding for this. And if we formulate myco wizards, as a foundation, as a nonprofit is another sort of type of business. It sort of like feeds into that conceptual side where all the people in money are like, Oh, my God, gorgeous soup and eggs. Unknown Speaker 1:11:00 And they get all weird and scary about it. And you're like, cool, this dude from Texas wants to do Cordis of eggs. So we should do that, right. And they're like, here's millions of dollars. And we're like, cool. So we want to we want to sort of combine the efforts and have myco wizard stationed there, but a little bit disengaged from cap and stem so that, you know, the streamline production can bring the cost down to make us competitive, you know, and like global industry, when we can just play with r&d, they're really just help people to develop products and projects they want to take on Unknown Speaker 1:11:33 and not own them. Not like a university. Unknown Speaker 1:11:37 It's so important. I mean, there's, and it's, it's cool to see, Unknown Speaker 1:11:42 you know, I back when I started to get into mushrooms, like there just wasn't good resource hubs to learn. And like, I struggled so hard when I was first getting into growing mushrooms, because it's like, everyone is fighting on Reddit of like, now your tech sucks, like, do you then whatever I'd like everyone's just like, and you're there as a complete noob like, what the fuck the Who do I listen to? Like, I don't know, you know, myco chat 123 on Reddit or whatever, like, Who do I, you know, like, I don't, I don't know. And, you know, you're reading, you know, the couple books that have been published and like, you just got to experiment and you're gonna fail a million times, which is good learning. But now, I mean, yeah, there's, there's some great, like Facebook groups that have popped up over the years that everyone's just openly sharing, like, Hey, I tried this, this worked for me, here's, here's my design for this, like steam. pasteurizer like, and then people are like, Hey, I took your design and and made it better. You know, and like, it's like, sick, like, that's awesome. Like, we we recorded our whole quarter SEPs operation or, like, here's how we do it, like, please make it better. Like, we don't know what the fuck we're doing. Like, like, please, like engineers out there anyone who like, wants to make it better. Like, please make a V two are like, you know, keep it going. Keep passing the torch. Because at the end of the day, like it just yeah, we need as many brilliant minds to just keep tweaking it. And, and cuz at the end of the day, like, yeah, we just want to go home and relax and be with their friends and family and like, Unknown Speaker 1:13:22 like we let's not make it hard on ourselves. You got to make it exciting, you know, and that's sort of the suffering, the suffering can go away to a degree if this industry does maintain sort of decentralized stance, I think across the country, at least, against it. So that's awesome, dude, I think that I think that's going to be a big hit. And I feel like a lot of people are going to help be helped by that. So that's, that's sweet. Let's see, man. Let's see. Unknown Speaker 1:13:49 Yeah. And what do you how do you? How do you feel like this? This space is going to evolve in the next 510 years? Unknown Speaker 1:13:59 In both Yeah, in both the United States and then globally. Unknown Speaker 1:14:03 You know, it's interesting to talk to somebody like Kyle who Caroni from pharma. Sanjay, like, you know, spends a lot of time overseas, in China, in Japan, in particular, are their maximum the next step, like ever reach their height of which they're trying to create these like weird other products that are not normal, like, his thing that he's laughing at? He's like, they wanted me to buy a container of like freeze dried and fully cooked shimeji. Like, who eats shrimp? Unknown Speaker 1:14:30 And I don't want to container. Unknown Speaker 1:14:33 And that's a scary thought, because we're in this myco boom, you know, in the States, but we have a long way to go to get to that point. But that's also why there's substrate than their products and everything are coming. And I think that we could go in that direction and kind of like cap it out. Unknown Speaker 1:14:54 But I think it's going to take a fair bit longer. And I think the products that come over sees from here Unknown Speaker 1:15:00 General vary from from overseas to here for domestic production, that's going to be the biggest battle from the biggest farms to the smallest farm. Yeah, like, how do we figure this out labeling wise or whatever, just to inform the public, nobody's asking, you know, nobody's like waging war on one another yet. Unknown Speaker 1:15:16 But I do think it's going to evolve into something a bit different than it is now. You know, and I don't think anybody knows what that sphere really looks like, because we're just looking at models that have maxed out over like a long period of time. But I'm hoping that it continues to just grow in the direction of supporting a lot of different people doing this. And they can actually make sense of, you know, a lifestyle and, and it's not just something that turns into corn or milk, or whatever, you know, all the marketing grants that are applicable to us are like, you know, do you have a gut milk idea? Like, fuck God? No. Unknown Speaker 1:15:51 That was a reaction to like, the worst case scenario, you know, like, Unknown Speaker 1:15:57 advertised, like, got milk. Unknown Speaker 1:16:01 So, where can where can people follow? Follow you what you're up to? myco? Wizards all all? Yeah, just myco wizards.com or cabin sam.com. It's basically two different websites, one for buying weird, you know, mushroom stuff. And myco Wizards is banana, getting a lot of time and effort and traveling and stuff, just to interview farms. And I'm excited to bring in other people like yourself, you know, we're in this weird sphere, where we both have these weird podcast, but actually knows, like, like, where all these downloads coming from? Who are these people? You know, did they just see fantastic fungi, or they're my neighbor. It's a lot of people who are interested in this stuff. So myco Wizards is really just like that platform for us to like, get these ideas out there and create this connectivity from, you know, different mushroom farms and cultivators and ideal mines across the world. So myco was that kind of recap, it's tender. Unknown Speaker 1:16:58 And you obviously sell blocks to mushroom farms. Unknown Speaker 1:17:03 you consult mushroom farms as well, right? We do a fair bit. Yeah, that's kind of why myco wizard started. It's like the number of consultation calls that was coming my way was obscene. And I know a lot of other firms had that. But it's not something I really enjoy. Unknown Speaker 1:17:21 It's interesting for a while, but it doesn't really make sense to just charge somebody X amount of dollars an hour to just hear him out. And then really kind of try and help them. So how I do consultations now. And it's pretty simplistic is just, you know, tell me your whole story, like in an email, all the problems you're having and what you want to cover. And then let's go into it and try and figure out exactly what you're having issues with or looking at it from a bit of a, you know, conceptual side, it's like maybe you're just struggling with your own personal life, and I become a psychologist. Unknown Speaker 1:17:54 But yeah, raw materials and blocks and substrate are the main, you know, things that cap and stem does so ready to fried substrate, we'll ship pallets of it anywhere basically in the country, and then spawn we ship between Canada, a little bit into South America, but mostly the United States and then cultures and equipment worldwide. You know, if people want to play with fender baggers, we're trying to like really open source a lot of this stuff. So people are excited about doing it themselves. And not just having to rely upon, you know, other companies to do their bidding for them. It's exciting. Hell yeah, I did. Well, if I ever make it back to the northeast into Maine, it's a cold place students. Unknown Speaker 1:18:39 You got like a month where it's nice and the rest of the time it's like snow and ice. Unknown Speaker 1:18:44 But Maine is beautiful. I mean, last Chaga I mean, the forests are all you got moose. I mean it is it's yeah, it's it's great. Yeah, I mean, beautiful nature. Not not a lot of people there no no purse per square foot, but But yeah, I'll have to swing by if I'm ever up there again. And I appreciate you coming on. Thanks for having me, Alex. And people follow cap and stem by their blocks check out their podcast and yeah, yeah, man. And if anyone Unknown Speaker 1:19:18 learn something today or in another episode or whatever, tell your friends and family. Unknown Speaker 1:19:24 Tell tell the cashier ringing you up a weird mushroom fact get them get them hooked. Unknown Speaker 1:19:30 Get them to quit their grocery job and start a mushroom farm and yeah, yeah, we're all in this together and we can all help each other. Get back, get back to our roots and grow some more mushrooms. So if you want to support the show, we don't have a Patreon. We do have a website mushroom revival.com. We have a whole line of functional mushroom products from gummies capsules, tinctures powders, so check those out. We have a coupon code just for Unknown Speaker 1:20:00 listeners pod treat that you could use Unknown Speaker 1:20:04 and it's for a surprise amount we have a giveaway if you want to win some free stuff. Link is in the bio and then we have like a bunch of free ebooks on our site and blogs and stuff that you could check out. Unknown Speaker 1:20:19 Other than that, check out my new book that was just published low book and mushrooms is cute little desk, little coffee table book and Unknown Speaker 1:20:29 much love everybody made spores you with the peace and love Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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