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Attendees enjoy weekend Happy Dancing Turtle events

The Happy Dancing Turtle campus offered a taste of spring to optimistic visitors Saturday, April 20, in the form of a mushroom cultivation workshop, potluck and spring plant swap.

Weather limited offerings at the plant swap, but Jim Chamberlain, food and water security coordinator, said the event still drew as many as 40 people as well as plants ranging from mulberries, to tomatoes, and even tobacco plants.

“A lot of the stuff that is pretty typical for plant swaps are perennials you dig up like raspberries or any of your bulb plants or irises or anything like that that you split. I think that held some people back,” Chamberlain said.

Chamberlain also shared his nine years of experience in cultivating mushroom by guiding a small group of people through the process of innoculating logs with shiitake mushroom spawn. He explained cultivation of wine cap mushrooms and oyster mushrooms. Everyone present walked away with instructions for caring for their logs, as well as baggies full of oyster mushroom spawn.

This event was sponsored by the Central Chapter of the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota. It was the first time they have held a plant swap in Pine River, though last year one was held in Wadena. Chamberlain has also taught mushroom cultivation in past years.