ShireFolk Farm

Owner: Emilie Tweardy

10099 W River Rd
Palmyra, VA 22963-5412
Fluvanna County

daytime phone: (503) 577-7618
evening phone: (859) 221-8069
Web site:

Application Date: 2019-04-16

Applicant Details

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program. *
Yea are very interested in being a part of a grassroots organization that puts certification and the power of representation into the hands of farmers.
Are you currently third party Certified for your produce operation by any other organization (Organic, Biodynamic, etc)? *
Have you held any certification/s in the past that you don't currently hold? *
Have you ever been denied certification? *
How did you hear about Certified Naturally Grown? *
Other certified farmers.
How did you learn to grow mushrooms, and for how long have you been growing them for market? What has prepared you to farm successfully according to CNG standards? *

General Information

Check all types of mushrooms you intend to certify. Please include any types you intend to grow or harvest in the coming 24 months. *

Other types you'll be growing, not listed above:
Are there any mushroom types you grow or harvest for which you are NOT seeking certification? Please list all such types, and explain why you are not seeking to certify them.
Please check all markets you grow for (this will be displayed on your farm profile to help potential buyers find you). *

Please specify what other markets (if any).

Substrate, Supplements, and Other Materials

For each type of mushroom you produce, tell us about your substrate. (Put "N/A" or leave blank for any type you don't produce). Please indicate in the appropriate box below: 1) what you use for substrates and supplements (if any) and 2) the sources of these materials. Include names of products and distributors where appropriate. If any substrate is obtained from a non-commercial source, please describe that source.
Shiitake (Lentinula)
logs sourced from our own woods or friends' farms/woods
Oyster (Pleurotus)
grain and/or sawdust sourced from Sharondale Mushroom Farm (they are certified organic)
King stropharia, garden giant, wine cap (Stropharia)
straw, garden beds
Reishi (Ganoderma)
grain and/or sawdust sourced from Sharondale Mushroom Farm (they are certified organic)
Enoki, velvet foot (Flammulina)
n/a - i don't grow this mushroom
Maitake, hen of the woods (Grifola)
garden mushroom beds of wood chips/logs/straw
Butterscotch mushroom (Nameko)
n/a - i don't grow this mushroom
Lion's mane, pom-poms (Hericium)
grain and/or sawdust sourced from Sharondale Mushroom Farm (they are certified organic)
Chicken of the woods (Laetiporus)
garden mushroom beds of wood chips/logs/straw.
White button, portabella (Agaricus)
n/a - I don't grow this mushroom
Other (please specify)
Did you remember to indicate, for each of the substrates and supplements noted above, the sources of these materials? You may use this space to say anything else about the substrates you're using or may want to use in the future.
We get no-spray straw from a neighbor producing chemical-free wheat. We source wood chips from a neighbor's logging operation.
Do your substrates include corn, soy, cotton seed hulls, or other byproducts of crops that are grown commercially in GMO form? *
Do you use logs as a substrate? *
Do you adhere to all state or local quarantines for forest products that there may be in your region? *
Please describe any steps you take to ensure that the logs you use are harvested according to a forest management plan that will maintain or help improve the overall health of the forest. *
What do you use to seal logs after inoculation? *
cheese wax
If you use wax, how do you confirm that it does not contain ethylene-propylene co-polymer, synthetic colors, or perfumes? *
The kind I buy is non-colored, and ingredients state that it's just paraffin and microcrystalline wax
Do you use wood chips, sawdust, sawdust blocks, or wood pellets? *
Have you confirmed that these are not chemically treated, nor contain glue or other adhesives? *
Do you use any of the following items as substrate: cardboard, paper, clothing, municipal compost, wood from rare trees harvested for mushroom production? *
Do you use manure as a substrate in your mushroom operation? *
Please describe all sterilization or pasteurization procedures and materials you use. (If none, please put N/A) *
How do you dispose of or re-purpose used substrate? Please indicate current practices as well as any plans you have for how the used substrate may be put to further productive use. *
I utilize it underneath trees in our orchard, and also use the mushroom substrate in a swale that helps clean the water from our outdoor poultry processing facility on-farm.
How do you ensure that nutrients from used substrate do not leach into waterways? *
They are utilized in orchard systems, crushed up and covered by mulch. I guess I can't guarantee that every single bit is used in the system and that nothing leaves, but the substrate is pretty dry when it goes into the orchards, and it takes a bit to rehydrate, so I think it's undergoing a slow composting process, and nothing seems to be running off. I also don't think we're producing enough to really make an impact in that way. The closest anything comes to our ponds is about 50' and it's all covered ground, nothing bare. We produce such a small amount that I don't think anything could leach that far, I think it would all be absorbed and utilized and tied up in our system.

Containers, Racks, and Beds

Please describe the racks and beds used in production (if any). What are they made of? *
Stainless Steel racks
Please describe any containers used for sterilization, and/or pasteurization. What are they made of? *
N/A - anything pasteurized we buy ready-to-go from Sharondale Mushroom Farm, which is certified organic.
Please describe any containers used for production. What are they made of? If you don't use containers for production (as for log-based production) you may answer "n/a". *
They are plastic bags from Sharondale Mushroom Farm, which is certified organic.
Were the containers purchased new or repurposed? If re-purposed, please describe how the containers had been used previously, and how you confirmed this with the supplier(s). *
In your operation, do any of the following materials come into direct contact with any substrate or fruiting bodies?Plastics that contain BPA, polystyrene, treated wood, railroad ties, containers that previously held toxic materials, re-purposed containers that had an unknown prior use *

Wild Harvest

CNG Mushroom certification covers cultivated mushrooms, not wild-crafted mushrooms. However, we include this section on the application for two reasons: #1 It is important to us that those who participate in our programs are mindful of the sustainability of the non-certified portions of their operations. #2 We want to give our members the opportunity to be transparent about their wild-crafting practices, and to minimize confusion about which mushrooms are certified.
Are any of the mushrooms you sell wild harvested (or "wildcrafted")? Yes/No *
What types of wild mushrooms do you harvest and sell? *
hen of the woods, chicken of the woods
Please describe what measures you take to ensure that you do not over harvest these mushrooms, and that there will continue to be wild mushrooms of that variety in the locations where you found them. *
We don't currently do this at all, but we're considering attending a wildcrafted certification in June, so I thought I'd include it. We would only be collecting on our property or friends' properties. We would leave lots for nature to continue repopulating. I assume we'd learn the proper ratios of how much to take vs how much to leave in the Wildcrafting class in June.
Since CNG doesn't offer certification for wildcrafted mushrooms, you must agree not to market any wildcrafted mushrooms (or products made from them) as Certified Naturally Grown. Please indicate you agree to this requirement by typing your initials here. *


What water contamination experts have you consulted to identify which contaminants are typically found in area water, and determine the tests that should be conducted? Relevant experts may include local or state health department officials, Natural Resource Conservation Service agents, state environmental protection or pollution control agencies, local well drilling and water testing companies. (If you haven't yet done this, please indicate who you will approach, and by when you expect to have completed this program requirement.) *
We have to have our well tested annually to get our FLIP insurance for the farm. I don't know exactly who we consult with to do this, but the Food Liability Insurance Program has us test every year for contamination. We have already been tested this year.
Have you tested your water at the point of use for heavy metals or other contaminants that were identified by local water quality experts? When? What were the results? (If you haven't yet done this, please indicate by when you expect to have completed this program requirement.) *
Yes, we worked with the Soil and Water Conservation District. We had high iron, but that's very common here and it wasn't so high as to be a problem. No other levels were found to be problematic.
Do you use well water to mist or irrigate fruiting bodies? *
Please note CNG mushroom standards require you test well water used to mist or irrigate fruiting bodies at least once per year for E. coli, and the results must be negative with no E. coli detected. Have you tested your well water for E. coli within the past year? What was the date of the most recent test? What were the results? Please keep lab results on file, and plan to have them available during your inspection. *
Yes. I don't have the most recent date on-hand, but I will have the lab results available for inspection.
Do you use surface water to soak logs or to irrigate non-fruiting substrate? Surface water includes water from ponds, streams, and reservoirs. *
Do you ever use surface water to mist or irrigate fruiting bodies? *


Do you purchase spawn or produce your own or some of each? (If purchased, please list the supplier.) *
Purchase from Sharondale Mushroom Farm. They are Certified Organic
CNG mushroom standards prohibit for spawn production the use of adhesives, byproducts of GMO crops, or other materials prohibited for use as substrate. Are you confident none of these materials were used as a growing media for the spawn? *

Pest & Disease Management

Describe your primary insect pest challenges AND methods of prevention and control. (Do not answer "none". You MUST indicate actual pest challenges or LIKELY challenges, and you must ALSO indicate how you manage or how you would manage them. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used.) *
The problems we most often see are scared flies and pleasing beetles, though we've also had some mites and fungus gnats. We use sticky yellow traps for the fungus gnats. We also have a little shop vac that we use to suck up gnats and flies. We have a solution of soapy water inside to kill them once they're in the chamber. We sometimes spray the walls and floor with Safer Brand insecticidal soap with pyrethrin to help kill insects. We do this twice/day during outbreaks, and maybe once or twice/week otherwise. We do not spray the fruiting bodies. We use food grade Diatomaceous Earth on the floor (which is a thick layer of wood chips) to help keep the insect population from breeding in the chips. This year we are considering keeping the chips but using fresh landscaping fabric on top to keep the bugs down a bit. We copper tape around the table legs to help with slugs, but they aren't too bad of a problem.
Describe your primary disease challenges AND methods of prevention and control. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used. *
We have not yet had disease challenges. I think probably because we use a reputable dealer for our spawn and we haven't been in production that long. My understanding is that focusing on light and water is the best, low-input way to focus on this. We let our seedlings trays dry and sit in the sun for a day before storage for reuse, and we try to do this as much as possible with any tools that are dirty or need cleaning. We grow all of our produce in raised beds to assist with drainage, and we're working on digging drains for any areas where water pools. We also use drip irrigation as much as possible, although for direct seeded crops we do nearly always use overhead. We set alarms or timers to make sure that we aren't overwatering when we use our wobblers (overhead sprinklers). We also focus on disease-resistant varieties of plants, and we rotate our crops form season to season so that we're not allowing any disease problems to get a strong hold in any one place. We till minimally and focus on broad forking and compost application to build a healthy soil ecosystem so that it will be resilient to any diseases that might crop up here. With our perennials, we prune for air circulation, and in general we try not to let any weeds get so overgrown that they create microclimates where disease can thrive.

Site Location and Buffers

Is your operation either partially or entirely INdoors? *
Is your operation either partially or entirely OUTdoors? *
Please describe neighboring land uses to the north, south, east and west of your OUTdoor operation. *
It is in the center of our 64 acre property, so the adjacent lands and uses are our own. Across the street to the North there is a GMO corn and soy operation, but it is 545' (~1/10 mile) to the closest point of growing space.
Do these uses pose a risk of drift or contamination? *
Potentially, yes. But our outdoor space is covered to maintain humidity, with doors oriented so they are not facing the property. Also, we have spoken with them about spraying, and they have become more careful about their practices, particularly in relation to wind.
What is the distance between your outdoor production area and the nearest sources of possible contamination? *
545', which is about 1/10 of a mile.
What other factors mediate the risk of contamination? (Prevailing wind patterns, windbreaks, method of spray, etc.) *
The location of the mushroom house. The fact that it is walled (but with permanently open doors). It is also positioned behind a greenhouse of the same size that stands between the mush house and the offending farm.
Has your outdoor production area been treated with prohibited substances within the past 36 months? If so, by what was it treated, and when? *

Sustainability Initiatives

What measures have you taken to conserve energy, improve energy efficiency, and/or use energy from renewable sources? (This could include system design, siting, insulation, lighting choices, and more.)
We are very low-tech. We currently use only 2x/day misting and wet wood chips on the floor to maintain humidity. We have sited the mush house on the north side of our greenhouse to act as a barrier from drying winds and sun, and we have positioned it as much in the shade of a large pine as possible.
Please use this space to highlight any other measures you take to reduce the environmental impact of your operation or to make it more sustainable in other ways.
The hilight, for us, of the operation is that we use so much of our spent substrate to help filter the Nitrogen out of the effluent produced in our poultry processing facility. The effluent is full of blood and raw poultry juices that are very Nitrogen-rich. This effluent flows through a series of swales that are planted out in pawpaws (which need carrion flies to pollinate their flowers, an obvious plus), elderberries and willows, which all help provide pollinator fodder and have other helpful medicinal and functional outputs. The swales are getting filled with mushroom "waste" in the form of spent substrate, that then eats up lots of that Nitrogen and helps clean the water. We do not eat the mushrooms produced in the swales, but we leave them to naturalize in our system and feed any wildlife that want them.

Inspections & Networks

A core requirement of CNG certification is the on-site peer-review. Getting this completed is facilitated if you're a part of a network of mushroom producers who might serve as your inspector.
Are you a part of a network (informal or formal) of mushroom producers in your geographic area? *
Please tell us about your network. Does it have a name? Roughly how many members, and what geographic area does it cover? *
I know several are producers, but there is no formal network and no formal name. I know 5 different producers I can think of now between here, Richmond, Charlottesville and the Shenandoah Valley.


I will not label, or in any way lead consumers to believe that a farm product not raised in accord with CNG standards is Certified Naturally Grown *
I understand that I have to complete at least one Inspection of another CNG mushroom producer in my area each year, if there is one within a one hour drive. *
I understand that the inspection I conduct will NOT be of the same producer that inspected me. *
I have reviewed the Certified Naturally Grown mushroom certification standards, I understand them, and I will abide by them. If I have any questions I may contact CNG for clarification. *
You may use this space to tell us anything else you think we should know about your operation.