Foraged Seller Spotlight:

Sandia Farms, LLC

Johnny and Megan of Sandia Farms.

Your name, location, and name of business. Where can people follow you on social media?

Johnny & Megan Cerra

Richmond, Virginia

Sandia Farms LLC.

Instagram: @sandiafarms

When and how were you introduced to mushrooms? How has that relationship changed over time?

I was introduced to mushroom cultivation through a T.V. show called “Dirty Jobs” featuring a dude by the name of Mike Rowe. He would travel around filming himself doing dirty jobs in different industries up close and personal. He was filming on a mushroom farm one episode and it just stuck with me. Every once in a while I would jump off of “Myspace” (it was a while ago) and do some mushroom research. Slowly I went down the rabbit hole and finally started growing my own mushrooms. I started with shiitake mushroom blocks that I bought off the internet and cleared a table in my apartment and failed miserably! After that happened countless times (even when I was pasteurizing bales of straw in the apartment bathtub), I was discouraged and didn’t want to waste my money on failure anymore, so I didn’t spend any money on mushroom cultivation for quite a while. It took about 9 years for me to make a jump back into cultivation. I made sure that I did my homework before I started again. One thing that I learned with mushrooms is that you have to be patient and you cannot be too sterile.

Beautiful Pearl Oyster Mushrooms from Sandia Farms.

What kinds of species of mushrooms do you currently grow and what is your favorite type of mushroom to grow? Are you planning to introduce any more species to your grow operation?

We currently grow Shiitake, Lion’s Mane, a decent amount of Oyster varieties, and maitake. Our favorite mushroom to cultivate is probably the pink oyster. It brings the fruiting chamber to life with its vibrant colors.

Any favorite mushroom recipes in particular that you like? We love to hear others' favorites.

Almost every dish we eat at home has some kind of mushroom in it. Hands down my favorite dish to make is chicken marsala with extra pearl oyster mushrooms. If you ever make your own smoked chicken stock, use that instead of store bought chicken stock. Let all that simmer and reduce for 10 minutes and try to fit it into your own chicken marsala recipe and it’ll blow your mind!

10lb. Jumbo Pearl Oyster grow block from Sandia Farms.

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