Trad Cotter

Trad and Olga Cotter were in Telluride in August for Shroomfest, touting among other things the three mushroom infusion we tasted brewed into Smuggler Joe’s Red Ale. The Cotters own and operate Mushroom Mountain, part farm, part research facility located outside Liberty, South Carolina.

As luck would have it, Trad was hosting a farm tour on September 29 and Liberty, SC is 141 miles from Atlanta airport. Continuing the luck, the Northwest Airlines Retired Pilots’ get-together ended Friday night, September 28. Now the bad news: I was still in the top floor lounge of the Westin Hotel at midnight, and still had to pack. The result was 3 hours of sleep, a 4 o’clock wake-up to pick up my rental car at the airport at 5 and on the road to Liberty at 0:Dark:30. I was the first attendee on the premises. Among the attendees was a couple who had seen Trad’s presentations in Telluride last summer and are starting a commercial mushroom growing operation.

Our group of 15 enthusiasts got to see the the chicken yard remediation, log sections as growing media for several varieties of mushrooms, the greenhouse with various organic growing sources hanging in black plastic “sausages” with slits for the mushrooms to grow out of.

The Cotters are culturing mushroom varieties for many different causes in addition to growing them for food. Trad is working with Clemson University to test his projects in a lab setting. Students involved in the mushroom tests will be working abroad this winter to try out small scale water cleaning, soil building and food production in the scarred countryside of Haiti. If my luck holds, I hope to spend a week with him, getting my hands dirty and documenting the operation.

Just one more example of the ways that Telluride sits at some major crossroad of the world…

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