Consulting Services now available!

by Morgan D

Since we started, we have had inquiries for this service, and we're excited to help expand mushroom cultivation throughout Alberta. 

We are pleased to offer on-site and remote assistance to existing farmers wanting to add a small scale, low-tech wood mushroom operation to their farms.

Benefits of adding a small scale mushroom operation

There are two key benefits:
1. Adding a desirable product to an existing market stall or on-site store. 
2. Producing mushroom compost (wood-based) at no extra cost to you. This is a great supplement to any existing compost piles.
3. Improving your productive land in use, without depleting soil nutrients. The locations that are poor for cultivating other produce due to low light are ideal for setting up mushroom tents.

How we can help!

We can provide provide assistance in learning the process of mushroom cultivation, advise on equipment needed and set-up, and provide an on-site session with our consultant to inspect and test your set-up prior to the first harvest as well as getting your first harvest set-up from ready to fruit blocks.

Our basic consulting package includes:
- Remote consulting sessions focused on Pre-set-up design guidance including sample set-ups and equipment parameters to assist with sourcing locally available options, explanation of mushroom cultivation cycle and key concerns or safety risks to mitigate.
These can be phone or video consultations.
- One on-site work day including travel time to locations within 400 km of Calgary and one overnight accommodation, plus per diems and mileage. (Locations located more than 400 km from Calgary may incur additional travel costs or time charges.)
The on-site visit includes testing and troubleshooting of equipment set-up to confirm it is ready to start the first harvest, training in overall mushroom growing process and setting up your first harvest cycle.

- Visual troubleshooting and reference guide (laminated) to keep by your production tents

- Remote guidance and troubleshooting support for your first harvest 

-Transportation costs for ready to fruit blocks for your first harvest for on-site visits between May & September only, weather dependent. Note: This will require drop off to an appropriately secured (shaded) site the evening prior to the on-site work day.) The cost of the blocks themselves is $12/block when ordered with a 6-week initial lead time.

The fee for this basic package is $1,500, plus travel costs.  

Details and limitations of this consulting package
Standard schedule for on-site visit:

Our consultant will drive up the evening prior and stay in local accommodations as close as we can find to your farm. They will drive up in the morning, be on-site between 8.30am and 4pm including a 30-minute meal break, and then return to Calgary that evening to minimize travel costs. (Note: There might be flexibility to move the times a bit earlier in the day, depending on where the accommodation is located, but it is expected that our consultant will be ready to depart no later than 4pm, or 7.5 hours from the start time, whichever is earlier to accommodate up to 4 hours of travel time to Calgary.)

Limits of the basic package:

A maximum of 45 ready to fruit blocks can be set-up directly by our consultant during the on-site visit. We also cap the basic package at 10 tents, and a maximum of 500 sq. ft. of inspected and tested production space due to time limitations. We do expect that our farming clients will also be preparing blocks in parallel so it's not unreasonable to expect at least an additional 20-30 blocks can be prepared while the consultant is present, and any additional ones after their departure.

The focus of the on-site visit is experiential hands-on learning for our farmers and catching any obvious set-up issues before your first production run, so we cannot guarantee they will have time available to prepare more than this number of blocks on a single day visit. 

If you would like the consultant to assist with a larger set-up than above,  additional travel expenses and a per hour labour rate of $75/hr may apply, depending on your location. Please ensure you advise us of this need prior to confirming an on-site date to ensure appropriate accommodations are booked, if required.

Travel costs

Travel costs will include mileage and meal per diem rates at the current CRA rates, plus overnight accommodation at the nearest appropriate location. The consulting fees already factor in any necessary travel time for a single day on-site location within 400 km of Calgary. 

Ready to fruit blocks

Additionally, we are pleased to offer ready to fruit blocks to support your growing efficiency and learning process. A ready to fruit block removes 60% of the lead time in the mushroom production cycle, and avoids the main pre-production failure risks. This will give you an average turnaround time to harvest of 2-3 weeks, vs. the the standard 6-10 weeks from sterile substrate blocks. 

The standard full-cycle mushroom operation requires a lab space and familiarity with aseptic techniques. With a ready to fruit block, you can skip that entirely and focus on the final production step of the cultivation cycle. Ready to fruit blocks are also provide increased flexibility to pause your cultivation for a vacation or other planned absence or break during the growing cycle.

For some doing on-site lab work and incubation is of interest, and we are happy to provide some add-on consulting services to the basic package at our standard $75/hr rate.