Updated: 04/09/2014 7:29 AM
Created: 04/08/2014 9:21 PM KSTP.com
By: Tim Sherno
Inside the nondescript brick building in North East Minneapolis, Ian Silver-Ramp is suiting up in a sterile cloth full-coverage hooded garment. Silver-Ramp is the founder of Mississippi Mushrooms, a growing mushroom production facility that provides a variety of mushrooms to restaurants across the metro.
Silver-Ramp says a local mushroom is better because mushrooms are a time sensitive product, "When you ship mushrooms they really lose a lot of quality."
The mushrooms are grown in a climate-controlled room with positive air pressure. To enter the grow room, a person has to pass through an air-lock to prevent the introduction of mold spores and other free floating contaminants.
Silver-Ramp says it's like gardening, "Essentially, the contaminating organisms are the weeds of our system."
Silver-Ramp is hoping a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign will help him acquire a large commercial system used to sterilize the organic material used to grow mushrooms. Silver-Ramp uses the grains leftover from brewing beer as a growing medium, but the product could also contain contaminants so it must be sterilized first.
The process of growing mushrooms creates its own byproduct that Silver-Ramp says continues the recycling cycle, "At the end, when we're done growing mushrooms, our byproduct is compost, and really rich compost that's in demand by gardeners and landscapers all over town."