We’re so fortunate to have a local gourmet mushroom producer! Growing mushrooms was a relatively easy decision and a good fit for Paul and Katie Schofield. They appreciate not only their taste and nutritional properties, but also the fact that the production process is gentle on the planet.
The low ecological footprint was a big priority for Paul, who obtained a Biology Degree from VCU and currently works at the Sustainable Urban Agriculture Center of VSU. Within this role he maintains chickens, rabbits, a vegetable garden, and a small orchard. He is committed to ongoing study and research to stay current in the field and to perfect growing processes at work and home.
In 2014, the Schofields started small by growing 10-20 pounds of oyster mushrooms per week at their 5 acre farm in Ford, Virginia. From the start, they used only natural materials with no chemical sprays or additives. They eventually obtained two shipping containers and outfitted them with insulation, climate control and humidification. They also purchased a greenhouse for incubation space and learned that growing on sawdust and soybean hulls was the most effective strategy.
Paul and Katie have consistently used sustainable practices to keep their environmental footprint low. They take full advantage of the high organic matter present in the spent mushroom substrate (of soybean hulls, sawdust and mycelium). By adding it to activated biochar and aged manure from local grass-fed cattle and their own sheep, they create compost to grow other crops on their farm. As a result of gaining more experience and equipment to refine their growing process, they added shiitake and lions mane mushrooms to their production. By 2015 Schofield Farm began selling their line of gourmet mushrooms for the community to enjoy!
Fast forward to 2020 and they are now growing and selling 150-200 pounds of mushrooms per week to local chefs and farmers market customers! It’s amazing they can make time for this level of production as Katie is a music teacher in the Dinwiddie public school system and they have two children aged one and four. This busy couple has a clear commitment to learning, improving, and expanding and clearly thrive on the challenge! They are currently trialing five varieties of garlic and have had great success with growing ginger and strawberries. So be on the look-out for new products coming your way!
Mushrooms are such a versatile, welcome additions to meals. They soak up delicious oils and spices while adding umami and nutritional benefits. Paul’s favorite use for his beloved mushrooms is Jagerschnitzel, a German dish with a mushroom onion gravy over pork with a side of potatoes. He sometimes likes to keep things simple and cut thick slices of shiitake to cook in butter with salt and fresh homegrown garlic. He’s a big fan of mushrooms in beef stew and stir fry.
Take advantage of having a mushroom grower just outside of Richmond! Shop Schofield Farm’s mushrooms to add savory taste and unique texture to your meals! They make a great addition to your holiday stuffing or gravy for your turkey!