If there is one thing that excites Josh Peitzman, it’s the promise of rain. A saturated forest floor is a fungal breeding ground, and Peitzman, 24, spends much of his free time post-rain on the hunt for mushrooms to identify. It’s become second nature for him to walk through Granger’s Jester Park, eyes on the ground or in the nooks and crannies of trees, in search of something new to discover.
For a time, this hobby — which began five years ago — was just that. But his own mushroom farm, Fungi Fresh Farms, is now a reality. With support from investor turned business partner Jerrod Appenzeller, Peitzman is determined to grow the largest gourmet mushroom farm in central Iowa in a renovated shipping container in Grimes.
The fungi kingdom is intrinsically connected to our own. They are decomposers and life bringers, creating conditions for plant and animal life to flourish, inconspicuously coating much of the planet. We recognize them as mushrooms or mold or actors of fermentation in our favorite wines and beers. They’ve been harnessed for good as antibiotics, and some species are even capable of cleaning contaminated areas.
Mushroom farming requires significantly less space and land than other forms of agriculture, and many of the materials the partners use to grow their products are compostable.
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