(Left to right: Ian Silver-Ramp [president], Daniel Le-Tran [intern] and Jason Lund [grower]) 

Daniel Le-Tran was in a brewery in New Orleans with his brother when he first heard about Mississippi Mushrooms, an indoor, year-round mushroom farm operating out of the old Port of Minneapolis. Their bartender had worked as an intern there, and his positive experience was enough to inspire Le-Tran to do the same.

Now, officially a SciTech biology and environmental science intern at Mississippi Mushrooms, Le-Tran is getting his hands dirty learning all there is to know about fungi, farming, and sustainability.

“It’s really interesting,” Le-Tran said. “I’m not just going to work, I’m also thinking about what I can learn from this experience and trying to get as much as I can out of it.”

A greener way to grow
Mississippi Mushroom’s dedication to sustainability made it the perfect fit for Le-Tran and the college courses he was taking. In addition to his environmental studies major at the University of Minnesota-Morris, Le-Tran is also minoring in sustainability leadership.

Mississippi Mushroom exposed Le-Tran to its small business approach to sustainability, helping him learn from their compost techniques, use of solar panels and recycled materials. The mushrooms they farm are grown in a concoction that includes saw dust, wood shavings and hop water from local breweries.

According to Mississippi Mushroom’s President Ian Silver-Ramp, that’s just the beginning. One of his future sustainability goals is to remove their need for steam sterilization which would mean getting rid of the plastic bags that the Mushrooms are currently grown in.

If you could do that, Silver-Ramp said, “You would change the mushroom industry, but you would also change the fungal industry” which spans a vast array of sectors, from farming to mining, depending on how the fungi are used.   

Shitakes and Poplars and Grey Doves, oh my!
Farming mushrooms for some of the finest restaurants in the Twin Cities means that Mississippi Mushrooms needs to provide an exotic variety. All-in-all they farm Poplar, Shitake, Lion’s Mane, Nameko, and Grey Dove, Pink and Golden Oyster mushrooms.   

It’s Le-Tran’s job to help with inoculating, harvesting and delivering the mushrooms in the Mississippi Mushrooms’ electric car. With everything he’s experienced, Le-Tran’s favorite moment he’s had so far was “the first time I saw Pink Oyster mushrooms on their first flush, because they’re so pretty. Harvesting that for the first time was really cool.”

A Parade of Farms
If you’re interested to see some of these incredible mushrooms yourself, you can visit Mississippi Mushroom during the 2019 Co-Op Farm Tour on July 13.

This Saturday, over 25 local farms will be open to the public with tours, tastings and family-friendly activities. Mississippi Mushroom is stop number one in the Urban district. They’ll have mushrooms for sale, free samples and a food truck or two. Be sure to bring your family and friends!