In the margin of the Third International Medicinal Mushroom Conference in Washington, Magda Verfaillie of Mycelia, Belgium, was given the opportunity to visit Paul Stamets’ company annex new house in a small group.
An exhausted Paul, his wife Dusty and the staff welcomed us in the meeting room of Fungi Perfecti for a general introduction to the company. They explained various activities: production of spawn and substrates, reproduction of cultures, preparation of mycoceuticals, research, acquiring patents and training in mycelium and mushroom production. After removing our shoes and donning protective jackets we were allowed to enter the clean room department to see things up close and live. This was followed by a visit to one of the adjoining buildings, where a series of lignivorous mushrooms were ‘blooming’ in a huge variety of colours and shapes.
Proud as peacocks, Paul and Dusty showed us around their amazing, not quite finished wooden house in the heart of the Olympic forest. Their home is intended to be an example of an environmentally friendly lifestyle, with its combination of solar and ground water energy, recycling of waste heat from machines, and the long-term storage and redistribution of heat using a network of pumps. According to Paul he should be able to recoup the extra investment required within a few decades, certainly if fossil fuel prices continue to soar.
In the living room, graced by futuristic windows and pre-Colombian stone mushrooms above the fireplace, we raised our glasses to toast the future of their home and to celebrate a congress that was a success in many ways.
For a full report on the 3rd IMMC, see Mushroom Business 14.