In early 2019, before Covid-19 made international travel near impossible, I spent some time in South East Asia and had a chance to visit two innovative mushroom farms: Chiang Mai Organic Mushroom Farm and CordyFarmacy. Both are family-owned and operated farms in Thailand, but each is taking a radically different approach to mushroom cultivation.
Chiang Mai Organic Mushroom Farm is a small indoor / outdoor farm in Northern Thailand that cultivates a wide range of edible species including Straw Mushroom (Volvariella volvacea) and Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus).
The daughter of the farm owner and manager, Namtaan Worapitcha, showed me how she cultures mushrooms on agar, grows straw mushrooms with banana tree trunk and rice straw, and cultivates oyster mushrooms. Chiang Mai Organic Mushroom Farm also sells mushroom spawn from their farm, so if you're in Northern Thailand you can purchase it directly from them.
CordyFarmacy is an indoor cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris) farm outside of Bangkok. Cordyceps is a renowned medicinal mushroom that is continuing to gain traction in the U.S. for its energy and vitality-boosting properties. The owners, Boy and M, showed me around their impeccably clean and organized indoor farm. It was the first time I had ever seen a cordyceps grow with walls of jars and orange finger-shaped fungi. Their dried whole cordyceps make a delicious medicinal tea and whole fruit body supplements are potent and high-quality.
Check out the video below to learn about these two inspirational farms!