I walked into Peets Coffee the other day (sounds like the beginning of a joke, doesn’t it?)
Well, I walked in and saw these interesting looking mushroom kits for sale. And since I’m an avid gardener who will grow just about anything, I was immediately intrigued. So, I snatched one up for $15.00.
Having a teenager, I find it’s more and more difficult for me to keep her interested in gardening, so I’m a sucker for anything that might grab her attention. And that’s before I even read the amazing story behind this mushroom kit.
The company behind this is called Back to the Roots (created by 2 recent UC Berkeley graduates) and they’ve come up with a pretty ingenious way to grow your own mushrooms while using recycled products. They seem to have mastered the art of waste reduction by transforming used coffee grounds into the substance for the mushroom kit. And once the mushrooms are finished growing, just put the nutrient-rich contents back into your compost pile (all of the cardboard and plastic are recyclable, too!) You can even also order replacement kit bags online.
Consider the following list of facts, which are quite impressive:
1. These kits have diverted & recycled over 50,000 pounds of coffee grounds by transforming them into a rich soil used for growing the mushrooms.
2. Using the used coffee grounds, they’ve grown 7,500 pounds of oyster mushrooms sold at all Northern California Whole Foods Markets.
3. Sustained 10 urban school and community gardens by donating premium mushroom compost.
4. Created many green-collar jobs.
So – did this kit actually grab and hold my daughter’s attention? Absolutely! Anything that starts out potentially weird is always a sure bet!
It’s really quite simple. Just cut a slit in the opening of the box, and spray it with water twice a day. It even comes with a little recyclable plastic cover you can attach to create a ‘greenhouse’ effect.
Not much happened for the first 15 days. Then all of a sudden – Blammo!
Weird little blobs started to appear, along with white ‘mycelium’ which looked a little like mold.
At this point my daughter was intrigued…exclaiming ‘Ewww’ each time she passed by them.
And from this point on, these little blobs grew at the speed of light! Well, almost. But they did double in size each day.
See what I mean?
At this point the ‘Ewww‘ turned into ‘Cool!’ and we harvested the mushrooms. We then repeated the process all over again, using the reverse side of the box.
Was the $15.00 a good investment for 2 batches of Oyster mushrooms? Probably on the pricey side.
But was the $15.00 a good investment to keep a teenager interested in gardening – absolutely!