Last week we took advantage of the long weekend for a road trip and some work on the farm. (To be clear, Jeremy, as a farmer, NEVER has weekends; but I, the farmer’s wife, definitely have weekends.) Jeremy has been thinking about buying a fancier tool for mushroom inoculations. Field & Forest, located near Peshtigo in eastern Wisconsin, has the tool and invited us to come take it for a test drive.
We left first thing on Friday morning to drive the four and a half hours across the state. Our route took us over some tiny state roads winding through stunningly beautiful farmland and forests. We got to Field & Forest just after lunch and spent some time catching up with our friends, mentors, and mushroom spawn suppliers, Joe and Mary Ellen. Joe and Mary Ellen have been in the mushroom business for many years and are very helpful with advice and commiserating about the difficulties of a mushroom farmer’s life.
We got down to business with Joe and one of their employees showing us the machine, demonstrating how it works, and letting Jeremy take a shot at it.
There is a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, you can inoculate logs twice as fast as our current tool. Now that we’re up to 5,000 logs a year this tool would make a huge difference in the amount of time it takes to do inoculations.
But – the BIG but – it is $8,000!! Jeremy figures it would pay for itself in the first year or so as he wouldn’t need to hire as many people to help with inoculations. But it’s a lot of cash up front and we have a lot of other expenses to think about. I think we’re going to hold off for now on getting this tool and hope that between Jeremy and his current employee (who is pretty amazing at inoculating) they can do the slower process for at least one more year.
(But if you, or someone you know, has $8,000 lying around and you want to help make this dream tool our tool, drop us a line!)
After trying out the tool we spent more time with Joe and Mary Ellen and got a tour of their farm. It was fun to catch up with them and compare notes on mushroom farming!
First thing Saturday morning we headed back home. As I mentioned last week, we had a big painting project. We’ve got to get this monstrosity of a pack shed all painted so we can get it certified as a food warehouse.
The eternal optimist in me thought, “oh, this will be easy! Just a quick weekend job!” Ugh. I was so wrong. It’s a fussy thing to paint just the 2x4s and beams of a building, especially when you first have to scrub off years of accumulated dust (and a little bird poop) just so the paint will stick! This will be an ongoing project but hopefully we’ll get it done by the end of the month. The small portion we managed to clean and paint does look pretty good. Stay tuned for pictures when we get this project all wrapped up!