Sharondale Farm helps you learn how to grow your own mushrooms, provides high-quality spawn, and sells the best tools and supplies for growing mushrooms.
We believe that food should be fresh, nutrient-dense, and be consumed in our community.
Our commitment to high-quality food is reflected in our growing practices.
Our Farm is Certified Organic and we use no GMOs, harmful herbicides, pesticides, or man-made fertilizers in our farming practices.
Our farm provides the highest quality gourmet and medicinal mushrooms for the health of our land and community.
We also believe everyone can grow their own mushrooms, and we’ll help and empower you to do it.
Since starting Sharondale Mushroom Farm in central Virginia in 2004, I have come to appreciate more deeply the ancient relationship fungi have with our world and our culture. That is why I like to think of the farm as a fungus farm. I grow mushrooms – the fruit of Kingdom Fungi, but also work to understand fungi of all kinds and help hobby growers and small farmers develop the edge that supports diversity and resilience in their gardens, farms, and communities.
At Sharondale Farm, cultivating mushrooms happens at the intersection of science and art. The farm culture bank holds over 100 strains of gourmet and medicinal mushrooms. A few of the collected wild strains have been developed into productive food and medicine crops, and several have shown potential for bioremediation of diesel oil and hydraulic fluid, two common pollutants on small farms.
While growing mushrooms is a good business, approaching fungi from a broader perspective helps push the edge of knowledge about what is possible for our future as a species. Fungal allies co-create resilience in agriculture by improving the health of soil and crops and animals, and in our communities by providing healthy food and jobs. Our farm works to demonstrate that fungi can help heal the planet by supporting human designed ecosystems.
Sharondale Mushroom Farm is certified organic for mushrooms and mushroom spawn by PCO. Our facility is USDA- GAPS certified which is opening new markets for our specialty retail mushrooms. We are producing useful products with our spent mushroom substrate, and developing our organic mushroom compost and vermicasting production. In 2017, we joined the United Plant Savers as a medicinal plant and mushroom sanctuary.
Sharondale Mushroom Farm continues to engage our community of farmers. We are a founding member of the Piedmont CRAFT (Collaborative Alliance for Farmer Training), and are members of the Virginia Association for Biological Farming (Mark currently serves on the board), the Pennsylvania Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, and the Future Harvest Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture. Mark encourages and trains farmers to include mushrooms and fungi and microbes in their production practices to enhance farm diversity and resilience.
Current research at Sharondale Farm includes:
Identifying and evaluating commercial and locally collected mushroom strains for production value in central Virginia under different outdoor growing conditions and on different substrates.
Exploring and expanding low-tech and low-input cultivation methods for productive mushroom growing.
Intercropping gourmet and medicinal mushrooms in the food forest and garden.
Evaluating the local potential of numerous perennial fruiting tree and shrub species and varieties including jujubes, willows, plums, cornelian cherries, goji, currants, and gooseberries.
Collaborating to make food and medicinal products from abundant crops of mushrooms and plants.
Developing uses for our spent mushroom substrate.
Training mushrooms to enhance their ability to break down hydrocarbons and agricultural chemicals.
Awarded a USDA-SARE producer grant for 2008-2009 to study concurrent cultivation of mushrooms (Agaricus blazei, and A. subrufescens) and earthworms (Eisenia fetida) in manure based composts; and to measure their effects on the soil amendment value of the resulting compost.
The Team At Sharondale Farm
Owner of Sharondale Farm
Mark Jones, Sharondale CEO (Collaborating Ecological Organism) was introduced to fresh, home-grown produce as many of us were–in the garden with his grandmother. He became fascinated with fungi during a college mycology class and then accepted a graduate research assignment studying a fungal wilt of Tabasco pepper. Following a M.S. degree in Plant Health from LSU, Mark learned and practiced the craft of carpentry and grew a construction business. His hobbies building gardens, working with kids and disabled adults in horticultural therapy, and practicing permaculture led him back to agriculture and growing mushrooms.
After designing and building outdoor living spaces and encouraging people to grow food in Portland, Oregon, Mark moved to his family’s homestead Sharondale in the summer of 2004 to continue developing perennial polycultures that integrate fungi and mushrooms with fruit, flowers, and fiber plants. Mark’s current work includes practicing and teaching about: low-input mushroom and microbe growing for small farm diversification and resilience; fungi that contribute to agroforestry and support natural resource management plans; intercropping mushrooms in the food forest for production of food, medicine, and soil fertility; and collecting local strains of mushrooms that have potential as food, medicine, and earth healers.
Farm Operations Manager
Bert Richards grew up in rural Northern Virginia and graduated from the University of Virginia in 2010. After two years of working at an organic vegetable farm, Bert earned an M.S. in Food Systems from the University of Vermont. Upon completing his studies, Bert returned to Virginia to pursue hands-on farming opportunities. Bert joined Sharondale Mushroom Farm in 2015 and has enjoyed learning about mushroom biology and farming.
Farm Operations Assistant
Aaron Kennedy grew up in Cismont, Virginia and holds a degree in Business Administration from Fairmont State University. He is a key member in managing our mushroom growing operation and provides development assistance to our many mushroom projects.