By Julia Howard
For Jeff Killenberger, growing mushrooms began as a hobby and transitioned to a family farm grounded on natural and sustainable farming methods. Meet 518 Farms, new this year to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays. Jeff, his wife Megan, and 3-year-old son Finnegan make up the farm team bringing fresh gourmet and medicinal mushrooms, grow kits, and also lavender to the market each week.
“This life is about everything we care about: nature, sustainability, and understanding where our food comes from,” says Killenberger. “We also like a good challenge,” he adds.
For the past three years, the Killenbergers have been growing gourmet and medicinal mushrooms on their farm, 518 Farms, in Hoosick Falls. 518 Farms recently expanded beyond their 500 sq. foot growing space to outdoor cultivation in order to expand the variety of mushrooms that they offer.
Throughout the year, 518 Farms grows and sells a wide variety of mushrooms including Blue Oyster, Golden Oyster, Lions Mane, Nameko, Reishi, Shiitake, Chestnut, King Oyster, Morels, Miatake, and Wine Caps. The mushrooms come in pre-packaged, half-pound portions to maintain freshness and also to minimize handling.
“All of our products are GMO-free and grown using organic methods. Even the packaging is biodegradable,” explains Killenberger.
In addition to fresh mushrooms, 518 Farms offers medicinal Breathe Easy Powder and Forget Me Not Powder made from pure reishi and lions mane, and a variety of grow kits for those that want to try their own hand at mushroom cultivation. Grow kits are available year- round, and Jeff Killenberger is happy to share his growing knowledge with interested cultivators.
Fragrant lavender “Munstead” is a new addition to the family farm. Plants are sold as starters in the spring and summer and then as bunches in the summer and fall.
With so much growth within 3 years, the Killenbergers are grateful. “We’ve learned that there is never just one way to do something,” says Killenberger. “Keep an open mind and think like a mushroom,” he laughs.
518 Farms can be found at the Wednesday market through the end of October, and the Saturday market beginning in November. They can also be found at Cambridge and Kingston Farmers’ Markets. For additional information and online ordering, visit their website at 518Farms.com and follow
them on Instagram at @518_Farms.
This week’s recipe: Lion’s Mane Cakes with Tartar Sauce