From Farm to Fork: Tidewater Mushroom Company
Meet Jason, a 34-year-old Norfolk native, and the visionary behind his very own innovative venture Tidewater Mushroom Company. In an exclusive interview, we delved into Jason’s journey as a mushroom farmer in an urban city and the unique features that set him apart from anything like it in Norfolk. At the core of his mission is a profound and authentic desire to impact the health and wellness of Norfolk’s residents. By producing high-quality, locally grown mushrooms, he aims to not only provide a unique culinary experience to his clients, but also contribute to the overall well-being of our local community.
Jason’s mantra, “Grow where you are,” rang through my ears as we walked through his indoor mushroom farm in The Norfolk Industrial Park. “There’s a real sense of community here, from local restaurants to the broader community”, he happily stated. He expressed a deep connection to Norfolk, witnessing the city’s recent progress firsthand, and doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon. Problem solving and creative thinking are constantly brought into conversation when curating a farm in an industrial park, and Norfolk’s strong culture within the small business community has been a helping hand through it all. A wide array of Norfolk restaurants has already began welcoming his products into their menu specials, such as Luce, Grilled Cheese Bistro, Commune, and The Ten Top.
The most interesting factor of Jason’s operation lies in his ability to meticulously control the environmental factors crucial for mushroom cultivation. From UV lighting and oxygen intake to humidity and temperature, every element is fine-tuned to perfection. Even the slightest 2-degree temperature change that would go unnoticed by the likes of us, could be the difference between success or failure. He then delved into the fascinating world of mushroom properties, including their wide range of medicinal benefits. It’s safe to say that anyone will be a dedicated mushroom-supporter after spending just 30 minutes talking to him!
The mushroom farm’s success story doesn’t end here. Jason envisions a future where Tidewater Mushroom Company is deeply intertwined with Norfolk’s entire culture. He plans to introduce cultivation classes or foraging programs, providing the community with hands-on education and experience in this emerging branch in the wellness community. Anything that opens the doors for locals to learn the art and science of growing mushrooms, Jason’s got something in store. As Norfolk continues to evolve, so will his commitment to “Grow where you are,” ensuring that his farm remains a vital part of the city’s cultural and culinary landscape.
If you are interested in supporting Jason’s business, or would like to learn more, visit his Instagram page @TidewaterMushroomCo.