Movers & Shakers: Tree Folk
It feels like it is the Denton dream to be your own boss, to survive solely off your own unique skills, to answer only to yourself. And people are doing it. Denton is full of movers and shakers, people making their own dreams come true through hard work and dedication to their craft.
Andrea and Matt began spin farming in 2012 at the Denton Backyard Farm, with different lots and gardens that had a wide variety of produce. They left for a short stint in North Carolina during 2014 into early 2015, but quickly learned the local love was not all encompassing as it was in the lil’ d. Big farms and their vanity produce took priority, while smaller farms were quickly looked over, which led them back to the bustling community market and vibrant local offerings of Denton.
They realized that focusing on a wide range of produce was not productive, at the end of the day that carrot Andrea had lifted out of the Earth was only worth a nickel. After several years spent digging, planting, and lifting their livelihood out of the ground, Andrea and Matt decided to focus their time and efforts on mushrooms and fruit trees. They fully committed to this new venture, Tree Folk, during their honeymoon camping in the Ozarks. They returned home and began construction on their fruiting chamber, a 400 sq ft space with only way to go but up. An environment where they could control temperature, humidity, lighting, and fresh air exchange all while keeping the bugs out.
Oyster Mushrooms blossom from hanging tubes, thriving off a straw substrate of alfalfa, gypsum, and mycelium. Gypsum is a main ingredient in most substrates, because it boosts calcium and balances the soil Ph, creating the ideal environment for growth. Lion’s Mane mushrooms cascading spines spilling out sawdust bags filled with a wood substrate that utilizes sawdust, gypsum, and mycelium. Each mushroom is almost a piece of art, with each types showcasing its own colors spreading across the gill of the caps. Even though the vast varieties of mushrooms can appear too pretty to eat, Andrea and Matt are always open to discussing recipes, ways to best utilize the mushroom in all its earthly glory, and the best practices with creating the perfect tea.
These local makers can be found at the Denton Community Market most Saturdays, often with a Sold Out sign gracing the barren table before market close, so make sure to get there early. With plans of expanding their offerings not just to the different seasonal varieties of mushrooms, but also to fruit trees and more exotic options, these Denton natives have transformed dreams into a reality that could only be discovered through their own desire to expand the knowledge and tastebuds of fellow Dentonites.
Header image by Jason Lee
Photos by Andrea Gorham