Meet the Grower: Chesed Farms

Persistent, local food grown right here in the Walla Walla Valley – this is Chesed Farms! 

It all began in March 2020 when Sundown brought his passion for local food to a level untapped in our region. Using his background in farming and aquaponics, Sundown started growing fresh and edible mushrooms in his garage. 3 years later to today, they have expanded their operations and grow mushrooms and microgreens for communities all over Eastern Washington.

But, how do you even grow fresh mushrooms? At Chesed Farms, they have this complicated process down to a strong science. 

First, clean bags with filters are filled with the ideal growing media – oats, oak, and water. This media is then sterilized in a sterilization barrel for many hours. It is imperative that the media is clean so that the mushrooms can grow without competition from other organisms. Next, each species of mushroom mycelium is added to its own bag filled with sterile media. These bags are then left in a dark room at a consistent temperature to allow the mycelium to become a thriving mushroom ready for harvest.

Before being added to their growing media, the mushroom mycelium live in glass jars filled with locally sourced wheat. Mycelium is a part of each mushroom that is similar to the root system of any plant. When you move aside the surface of dirt, you may see white or other colored strands in the soil. What you are seeing is mycelium! 

Certain mushrooms grown at Chesed Farms can be grown in just 4 weeks making them an incredibly quick growing crop when compared to standard crops. While mushrooms can grow fairly quickly, growing these organisms requires a high degree of accuracy and a very special growing environment. The humidity, temperature, and all parts of the process must be executed perfectly for each type of mushroom to grow. Despite all of the intricacies of growing this incredible food, Chesed Farms has provided around 3 tons of fresh mushrooms to our communities this year! 

Offering around 7 types of mushrooms with more varieties coming soon, this team is busy at work every day of the week caring for these beautiful and delicious mushrooms. Chesed Farms grows Pearl Blue and Golden Oyster, Royal Trumpet, Chestnut, Pioppino, Lions Mane, Shitake, and Chestnut Mushrooms. Unique in their health benefits and flavor, these incredible mushrooms are next-level when compared to the standard Button or Cremini mushrooms found in every grocery store. 

Sundown’s favorite mushroom to eat is the Chestnut Mushroom. He loves to pair it with meat, add it into casseroles, and says that it is, “so delightful chopped up, sauteed, and put on avocado toast with some fresh diced tomato.” 

This incredible local farm donated over 200 pounds of fresh mushrooms to the Christian Aid Center and Senior Center this year – supporting their community is the main mission of Chesed Farms. Their passion is ensuring that everyone in our community has access to fresh and local options every day of the year. With limited access to seasonal produce in the cooler months, incorporating their fresh mushrooms and microgreens into your diet will add an additional delicious element to your dishes and is also a great way to continue to get the powerful health benefits of fresh produce. 

You can shop these wonderful mushrooms in both our Andy’s locations! Stay connected with the incredible things that Chesed Farms is doing by signing up for their newsletter on their website. With their new offer, Valley to Table, and their Persistent Local Market happening in the winter months at the Showroom by Colville, this local farm is one you will want to stay connected with. 

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