Articles, Blog

Columbus Neighborhoods: Tiger Mushroom Farms


>>>HI, MY NAME’S TE’LARIO WATKINS AND MY BUSINESS IS CALLED TIGER MUSHROOM FARMS. YEAH! MY FIRST MEETING AT CUB SCOUTS, I GREW CAT GRASS AND BASIL AND IT WAS SO INTERESTING I WANTED TO KEEP GROWING STUFF. THEN MY PARENTS WONDERED WHAT COULD WE GROW IN THE WINTER AND I SAID MUSHROOMS BECAUSE MUSHROOMS CAN GROW IN THE DARK.>>SO, WE DID SOME RESEARCH BECAUSE WE WERE LIKE MUSHROOMS? LIKE, WHO KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT GROWING MUSHROOMS? SO, WE BOUGHT A BOX KIT ABOUT YEA HIGH. PUT IT ON THE KITCHEN COUNTER, WATCHED IT GROW, EVERYONE IN THE FAMILY LOVED IT. AND SO, WE TRIED DIFFERENT TYPES OF MUSHROOMS, DIFFERENT VARIETIES — LION’S MANE, OYSTER, PORTOBELLO, WHITE BUTTON AND WE FELL IN LOVE WITH SHIITAKE AND OYSTER MUSHROOMS.>>WE FIGURED OUT THAT SHIITAKE NEEDED TO BE IN A COLD ENVIRONMENT AND OYSTER NEED TO BE A HOT ENVIRONMENT. AND OUR BASEMENT WAS REALLY COLD AND OUR SPARE BEDROOM WAS REALLY HOT. THESE ARE BOXES MADE FROM SAWDUST. WE PUT MYCELIUM ON IT AND WE HAVE TO WATER IT EVERYDAY SO THE MUSHROOMS WILL GROW.>>AND SO, MY CILIATES IN ABOUT 17 DAYS AND IT STARTS TO PIN. AND SO, ONCE IT STARTS TO PIN WE MAKE SURE THAT HUMIDITY IS RIGHT, MAKE SURE THE TEMPERATURE IS RIGHT, AND THE LIGHTS IN THE BASEMENT IS PERFECT FOR IT. IT LOVES THE ENVIRONMENT. AND ABOUT THE 17 DAYS AT THE END OF THAT, THEY JUST, YOU KNOW, IT’S READY FOR US TO HARVEST THEM. THEY KIND OF UMBRELLA OUT A LITTLE BIT. YOU WANT TO GET THEM BEFORE THEY START TO CURL UP BECAUSE THAT MEANS YOU LET THEM STAY TOO LATE. SO, WE GET DOWN HERE AND EVERYDAY AND MONITOR, MAKE SURE WE HARVEST THE ONES THAT ARE READY. WE HARVEST TWICE, IN THE MORNING AND IN THE EVENING TIME. WITH THESE SAWDUST BLOCKS, THEY’RE JUST STARTING MAYBE SEVEN DAYS AGO. SO, TOWARDS THE END WHEN THEY’RE READY TO BE HARVESTED, THE SPORES WILL BE IN THE AIR. I MEAN, IT’S ALMOST LIKE THIS CLOUD, A CLOUD. AND SO, YOU NEED TO HAVE THE MASK ON TO MAKE SURE YOU’RE NOT BREATHING IN THE SPORES BECAUSE IT MAY CAUSE SOME TYPE OF INFECTIONS IN YOUR LUNGS AND THINGS LIKE THAT.>>WE GREW TOO MANY MUSHROOMS AND WE COULDN’T EAT THEM ALL AND THEY WOULD ROT. SO, WE THOUGHT THAT WE COULD SELL THEM AT NORTH MARKET.>>WELL, YOU HAVE TO HAVE A VENDOR’S LICENSE. AND THEN YOU HAVE TO INSURANCE. SO, WE SAID WE MIGHT AS WELL MAKE IT A SMALL BUSINESS. AND HE WAS A TIGER CUB SCOUT SO THAT’S WHERE THE NAME CAME FROM, “TIGER MUSHROOM FARMS.”>>I HAVE A QUESTION. HOW DO YOU GROW THESE?>>WE GROW MY SHIITAKE FROM MY BASEMENT.>>SO, WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR GROWING THEM IN YOUR BASEMENT?>>MY SHIITAKE GROW FROM SAWDUST BLOCKS MADE FROM SWEETGUM AND OAK.>>GOING TO THE MARKET HAS REALLY TAKEN THEM AWAY FROM THE HOME AND BEING ON VIDEO GAMES AND ALL OF THAT. THEY’RE OUT IN THE OPEN. THEY’RE MEETING NEW PEOPLE, MEETING DIFFERENT PEOPLE, HAVING CONVERSATIONS. I LOVE IT. AND THEY’RE TELLING HIM STORIES AND HE’S TELLING THEM STORIES. SO, IT’S REALLY GOOD TO SEE HIM, JUST, YOU KNOW, VENTURE OUT. AND ALSO FOR MY DAUGHTER, WHICH — A LITTLE SHYER THAN HE IS FOR HER — TO SEE HER CONFIDENCE LEVEL GO UP AS WELL AS TALKING AND SELLING AT THE MARKET.>>HELLO!>>LIKE TO TRY A SAMPLE?>>AND THEN REJECTION WAS ONE OF THE THINGS THAT, AT FIRST, I WAS A LITTLE CONCERNED ABOUT BECAUSE PEOPLE COME BY AND THEY SAY, “NO, NO, NO,” AND I THOUGHT IT WOULD AFFECT THEM, SO AT FIRST I WAS LIKE EH, BUT, YOU KNOW WHAT, WE TALK AND, YOU KNOW WHAT, THAT’S LIFE. YOU KNOW, YOU’RE GOING TO GET REJECTION, AND SO THEY DEAL WITH IT PERFECTLY, I WOULD SAY.>>IT’S A WAY TO EAT THE MUSHROOMS –>>WE STARTED OUT IN ONE MARKET, AND THEN ANOTHER MARKET. AND THEN PEOPLE WERE ASKING US TO BRING MORE MUSHROOMS AND COME TO MORE MARKETS, AND SO WE’RE TRYING TO EXPAND.>>I WOULD LIKE TO BUILD A BIG GIANT FACTORY TO SELL MUSHROOMS ALL AROUND THE WORLD.>>OUR NEXT STEP IS TRYING TO MAYBE GET A WAREHOUSE AND GROW MUSHROOMS IN THERE SO THAT WE CAN, YOU KNOW, SUPPLY THE DEMAND.>>I WOULD LOVE TO GROW MORELS.>>A LOT OF PEOPLE WHEN THEY COME TO THE MARKET WILL ASK US, “OH, DO YOU GUYS HAVE ANY MORELS?” AND WE’RE LIKE, “NO.” THAT’S HIS GOAL NOW, TO TRY TO GROW MORELS. SO, FURTHER ALONG, I GUESS EXPERIMENT AND LOOK INTO IT SOME MORE AND SEE IF, IN THE FUTURE, HE CAN GROW MORELS.>>WE CAN CUT UP THESE PINK OYSTER, GET BOWTIE PASTA, AND GET SOME ALFREDO SAUCE AND SOME TOMATOES AND SPINACH. AND CUT THOSE UP AND PUT IT IN AND COOK IT. IT’LL TASTE SO GOOD!>>WE ARE DOING THIS FULL-TIME NOW. THIS IS A BUSINESS THAT WE’RE TRYING TO HELP OUR SON GROW, AND IT’S SOMETHING THAT WE WILL GIVE TO HIM ONCE HE’S 18 AND WHEN HE’S READY TO TAKE IT OVER. WE SUPPORTED HIM. WE HAD THAT FIRST LITTLE DREAM OF HAVING A MUSHROOM FARM. WE DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT IT, SO IT’S LIKE A LEARNING CURVE FOR US, BUT IT WAS SOMETHING HE WAS PASSIONATE ABOUT. WE SAID, “WELL, WE’RE GOING TO TRY IT.” AND IT JUST GOT BIGGER AND BIGGER, AND SO WE SAID, “HEY, LET’S ROLL WITH IT.”>>THANK YOU, SIR.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH!>>THANKS SO MUCH!

14 Comments

  1. mattronimus Author

    I've been thinking about doing this… But just haven't pulled the trigger but if a little kid can do it there's no reason I can't I found this inspirational…. From what I hear morals are very hard to grow and most people make their money by selling directly to chefs at restaurants.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *