County Road 12: Dadeville’s ‘Mushroom Cowboy’ and his Fungi Farm

Published: Jul. 2, 2021 at 10:57 AM CDT
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DADEVILLE, Ala. (WSFA) - He was just a few classes away from finishing up a Soil Science degree at Auburn University, but Allen Carroll knew in his heart what he had to do.

“I ended up dropping out of school and going full time into the mushroom lab here,” said Allen Carroll, owner of the Fungi Farm in Dadeville.

Carroll didn’t grow up in an agricultural family. He first got a taste for it when he was in his late teens.

“I got interested in healthy eating about the time I graduated from high school. About that same time, I got interested in eating mushrooms. I couldn’t find many around, so I started growing my own,” Carroll said.

To understand what he does, well, it’s probably easier for him to explain it.

“So what we do here is we make artificial logs,” Carroll said. “We take sawdust and cook it in a bag, so nothing is growing in it. Then we put it in a cleanroom environment and introduce whatever species we want to in that bag.”

They don’t grow the mushroom here. The Fungi Farm is a mushroom lab. It’s one of the first in the Southeast. It’s all custom-built. The bags they create are pretty much like a starter kit with everything you need, already mixed in, ready to grow.

“We grow about 90 different varieties in our cultural library,” Carroll added.

Once these bags get to a farmer or a consumer, it’s pretty much mushroom time.

“They will cut the plastic bags open, and mushrooms will pop right out of the bag. It usually takes one to three weeks for the mushrooms to grow,” Carroll said.

It’s something you need to see for yourself to wrap your head around. He’s a scientific entrepreneur with a passion for mushrooms.

If you’d like to learn more, check out the website. They host open houses and field trips, you can even buy your own bag and grow them at home.

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