Fungi Ally grows fresh, organic mushrooms year round in Hadley, MA and provides a sustainable, medicinal, and nutrient dense protein source for our local community. Fungi Ally is owned and operated by Willie Crosby, an alum of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at UMass Amherst. Fungi Ally grows Oyster, Lion's Mane, and Shiitake mushrooms, which all have vibrant colors, ranging from blues and greys to reds and yellows.
Fungi Ally mushrooms are grown indoors in individual plastic bags filled with a mixture of organic agricultural by-products such as soybean hulls, wheat bran, and oak sawdust. These organic materials would normally be considered agricultural waste, so using them for production creates a circular and sustainable model. The next step to the growing process is to colonize each bag with the desired type of fungus. Once the fungi has eaten all the organic material, it will begin fruiting beautiful mushrooms that are ready for harvest.
Willie Crosby graduated from UMass Amherst in 2012 with a degree in Plant and Soil Science. After graduation, he worked at multiple vegetable farms but “put so much energy into someone else’s dream” that he decided to cultivate his own. “There was not much knowledge about mushrooms [when Willie started his business], and they were not popular yet in the Pioneer Valley,” Willie explained, which gave him a unique opportunity to learn and educate others. What Willie enjoys even more than growing mushrooms is returning to UMass as a Professor to teach students to cultivate mushrooms themselves.
UMass Dining serves Fungi Ally mushrooms in all four Dining Commons on campus. You can find his mushrooms in menu items such as Red Fish with Mushrooms and Scallions or Traditional Korean Hot Pot. Fungi Ally mushrooms are sold fresh at Whole Foods, Red Fire Farm, and local Co-ops and Farmers’ Markets. To learn more about mushrooms, visit Fungi Ally’s website. For students interested in Willie’s class at UMass, search on SPIRE for STOCKSCH 198M: Mushroom Practicum.
"Mushrooms play an integral role as recyclers. They create life from death.”
- Willie Crosby, Fungi Ally
A genuine thanks to Willie Crosby for your inspiring leadership to nourish people and the planet!
Thank you Keith Toffling for photography.
Leave a Reply.
Entries are submitted by project staff and UMass students.