I walked into Peets Coffee the other day (sounds like the beginning of a joke, doesn’t it?)
Seriously! I walked in and saw these cool mushroom ‘kits’ for sale. Being an avid gardener, I was immediately intrigued so I snatched one up for $15.00. Having a teenager, I find it’s more and more difficult for me to keep her interested in gardening, so I’m a sucker for gimmicks that might grab her attention.
Little did I know the awesome story behind this mushroom kit. The company is called BTTR Ventures (created by 2 recent UC Berkeley graduates) and they’ve come up with a pretty ingenious way to grow your own mushrooms while using recycled products. They seem to have mastered the art of waste reduction by transforming used coffee grounds into the substance for the mushroom kit. Once the mushrooms are finished growing you can dump the nutrient-rich contents back into your compost pile (and yes, all cardboard and plastic are recyclable, too). You can also order replacement kit bags online.
To date, only a few Peets stores are selling their product, but the following list of facts are quite impressive:
………..1. These kits have diverted & recycled over 50,000 pounds of coffee grounds by transforming them into a ………….rich soil used for growing the mushrooms.
………. 2. Using the used coffee grounds, they’ve grown 7,500 pounds of oyster mushrooms sold at all Northern California Whole Foods Markets.
………..3. Sustained 10 urban school and community gardens by donating premium mushroom compost.
………..4. Created 7 green-collar jobs.
So – did this kit actually grab and hold my daughter’s attention? Absolutely! Anything that starts out on the gross side is always a sure bet!
It’s really very simple. Just make a slit in the opening of the box, and spray it with water twice a day. It even comes with a little recyclable plastic cover you can attach for an extra ‘greenhouse’ effect.
Not much happened for the first 15 days. Then all of a sudden… Blamm-O!
Icky little blobs started to appear, along with white ‘mycelium’ which looked a little like mold.
At this point my daughter was intrigued…exclaiming ‘Ewww’ each time she passed by them.
And from here on out these little guys grew at the speed of light! Well, almost. They doubled in size each day!
At this point the ‘Ewww’ definitely turned into ‘How Cool!’
On Day 20 we harvested the mushrooms and repeated the process all over again, using the reverse side of the box.
Was the $15.00 a good investment for 2 batches of Oyster mushrooms? Probably on the pricey side. But was the $15.00 a good investment to keep a teenager interested in gardening – absolutely!