Founder Nathanael Engen walks through the incubation tent inside the new Black Forest Mushroom warehouse and storefront on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, at in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Founder Nathanael Engen walks through the incubation tent inside the new Black Forest Mushroom warehouse and storefront on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, at in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Fungi town: Downtown Everett home to new indoor gourmet mushroom farm

Black Forest Mushrooms will grow up to 20,000 pounds of tasty mushrooms each month. Its storefront opens Saturday at 2110 Hewitt Ave.

EVERETT — Downtown Everett’s first indoor gourmet mushroom farm is about to get off the ground.

For more than a year, Nathanael Engen has been quietly growing his company, Black Forest Mushrooms.

On Saturday, the first fruits of his labors will be on display.

Black Forest’s new store and indoor mushroom farm opens in Everett at 2110 Hewitt Ave.

The store offers locally grown gourmet mushrooms, mushroom jerky, books, chocolates and gifts.

Snack on mushroom pastries from South Fork Baking Co. or try freshly brewed mushroom-infused coffee from Seattle’s Wunderground Cafe.

Chestnut mushrooms grow in a fruiting tent on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, at Black Forest Mushrooms in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Chestnut mushrooms grow in a fruiting tent on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, at Black Forest Mushrooms in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Tastings begin at 11 a.m. with a Mushroom Happy Hour.

A ribbon cutting will take place at noon.

Tour the farm and celebrate the first mushroom harvest, Engen said.

You can’t miss Black Forest’s new headquarters — a brick building on the southeast corner of Hewitt and Broadway, just east of Angel of the Winds Arena.

And you can’t miss the sign, a silhouette of a mushroom against a forest backdrop and the slogan, “Where Adventure Spawns.”

The 10,000-square-foot facility features some 1,500 square feet of retail space, while the rest is devoted to cultivation, Engen said.

Renovating the building, a former ice house, and installing the cultivation equipment was a “significant investment,” Engen said.

Inside, two rows of black canvas grow tents, each the size of a one car garage, create the controlled environment and sterile conditions needed to nurture the crop.

A week out from opening, construction is ongoing at Black Forest Mushrooms on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

A week out from opening, construction is ongoing at Black Forest Mushrooms on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

The mushroom spores will germinate and grow in 5-pound plastic bags filled with a precise mix of oat and soy pellets. Mushrooms are the spore-bearing fruit of the fungus.

Black Forest’s fungal fare include lion’s mane, a mushroom that can taste like seafood; savory blue oyster mushrooms, a sweet, nutty flavored variety; Chanterelles, Chestnuts and others.

Engen said he expects to produce 10,000 to 20,000 pounds of mushrooms each month.

“We’ll be open year round to the public and seven days a week,” he said.

Black Forest mushrooms will be available in the spring at local farmers markets, including Lake Stevens, Snohomish, Woodinville and Shoreline.

“We’re starting to work with local chefs, focusing on Everett and Snohomish County,” Engen said.

The company has nine part- and full-time employees, he said.

Engen’s goal is to grow “green” locally sourced mushrooms in downtown Everett.

It’s a long journey from fungi to fork for some gourmet mushrooms. Many are grown in Asia, then shipped to the United States on cargo planes.

Black Forest Mushrooms staff work inside a sterilized inoculation lab on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Black Forest Mushrooms staff work inside a sterilized inoculation lab on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

A more sustainable solution, one that saves on jet fuel, is cultivating them locally, he said.

Engen, who grew up in Auburn, began growing mushrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic inside a garage at his Everett home.

He hopes his new space will become a place where people can gather and learn about gourmet mushrooms. And bring their dogs.

Engen’s 10-year-old dog, Bruce Wayne, has been promoted to chief sniff officer, he joked.

“We are happy to be part of the community,” Engen said.

Parking is street-side and free. Dogs are welcome.

If you plan to attend Saturday’s event, register at https://linktr.ee/BlackForestMushrooms

Learn how he grows mushrooms in this Daily Herald story from June.

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @JanicePods.

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