Recent Positively West Virginia guest, George Patterson, is a lover of all things mushrooms. George is about two and a half years into his mushroom farm, Hernshaw Farms, located in Hernshaw, West Virginia. George is happier than ever to be making the world a better place one spore at a time.
Hernshaw Farms began right after George graduated from William and Mary St. Andrews degree program, where he acquired a degree in international studies. George says that science was never his strong suit but is becoming something he enjoys through farming.
George’s family has a long history in the coal mining industry, but he thought he would change it up just by a little. George’s farm sits on reclaimed mine lands in Hernshaw, WV. His goal with this farm is to be as sustainable as possible and create jobs for fellow West Virginians that help keep them in the state.
Hernshaw Farms grows around 20 species of exotic, gourmet mushrooms. Their first big market was the fine dining scene, which of course, was interrupted by the pandemic. Without commercial kitchens to sell to, the team turned to the vast online market. As it turns out, there’s plenty of people nationwide that dream of being mushroom farmers from their own home.
The struggles at The Farm are different than what you might expect. Some of the biggest challenges of growth are keeping the mushrooms stable and sterilized.
The team at Hernshaw Farms isn’t big, but they’re tight. The Farm sits on about three thousand square feet of land, and the growth occurs in different shipping containers. George describes his best business moment as the day his youngest employee brought in a test that he had scored 100% on. George said, “I really care about this kid.”
George attributes his success to the help he’s gotten from his family, his love for what he is doing, and the great team they have created. His goals are not to make a ton of money or to be the biggest farm but simply to make a difference in his community.
If you want to support the Hernshaw Farms, you can find them on Etsy at hernshaw.store. You can even become your own mushroom farmer with one of their DIY grow kits, or subscribe to their mushbox – the subscription box that aims to blow your mush-loving mind!
Listen to George’s whole podcast here: https://positivelywv.com/podcast/episode-158-george-patterson-hernshaw-farms/
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