Sunday, June 13, 2010


WHEN I WALKED BY THE RAMSEY FAMILY FARM table today,  I saw a beehive-like contraption hanging just behind Jamie Ramsey as he bagged a gaggle of his pristine oyster mushrooms for a customer. When the transaction was done, I asked him about the "bag" that sprouted bouquets of mushrooms like coral growing on an ocean reef.

"That's a mushroom column," explains Jamie, who started coming to Market in 1994. "The mushrooms grow on pasturized wheat straw and cotton seed," he explains, reaching into a cooler and offering a sample of these shell-like beauties. "They're grown in a very controlled environment," explains Jamie, who says he's got 100's of columns growing in a special barn in Merrimac, WI, about 35 miles north of Madison.

Oyster mushrooms are a colorful lot, it seems. They come in designer colors - pink, blue, yellow, brown, grey and black. Jamie and his wife Diane grow the yellow, grey and brown oyster mushrooms, and shiitake mushrooms, says Jamie, will wend their way to the Market come July.
 If you stop by, be sure and ask him about when he went to Russia and helped farmers there grow oyster mushrooms!

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