On this sunny Spring afternoon, we took a short ride to bucolic Little Compton. We were officially on our way to check out our long-time supplier of amazing locally-grown mushrooms, Hillside Mushrooms. This was an adventure we had originally planned back in 2020, but the pandemic had other plans.
Hillside Mushrooms is owned/operated by Tim Wetzel. Tim’s family has deep ties with our stores. His father, Warren, operates Old Stone Orchard, which has provided the local towns with apples for many years.
Upon arrival, we exchanged some greetings and then spoke a bit about Tim’s history with mushroom farming. He had mentioned it was something that his father had wanted to get into for years (in addition to the orchard) but Tim decided to finally try his hand at it in 2014. It took off from there. He explained how the initial grow process begins in a lab, which he also had on-site in the early days. In recently years, he has moved the preliminary lab work to his cousin’s facility in Connecticut.
We then walked towards the grow facility. We were met outside the entrance with this peculiar pile of something resembling logs. He mentioned that these are what many of the mushrooms grow on and the entire process usually goes from start to finish in a week or less. Once the grow process is over, these “logs” of compressed shavings are quickly composted and the process is repeated for the next grow cycle. We were fascinated by how quickly the whole process happens. He mentioned that some mushrooms double in size each day!
We made our way inside the facility and it was unlike anything we’ve experienced before. The rooms were packed with neat rows of shelving, each containing a dazzling assortment of beautiful mushrooms in various stages of growth. Tim spoke a bit about some of the trials and tribulations of growing. From equipment failures, to getting things like temperature, humidity and moisture just right; it’s quite the scientific process.
Tim’s passion and commitment to produce the best mushrooms was quite apparent in every step of our tour. Through years of experimentation, trial and error, Hillside grows consistently delicious mushrooms that have been a hit with our customers and local restaurants since day one.
Check out our assortment of amazing Hillside Mushrooms in our Produce Department. You will LOVE them!
Until next time!
-Matt @ Lees/Clements’