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Daily Inspiration: Meet Dylan & Mickenzie Fitch

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dylan & Mickenzie Fitch.

Hi Dylan & Mickenzie, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start, maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers.
We were making plans for our future and saw the need for a more sustainable path. Given our collective entrepreneurial spirit, we decided that we wanted to create a business in agriculture and have it be the source that would allow creativity and connection to our land and community. To us, this meant growing delicious, nutrient-dense food and living close to nature. While searching for land in Arizona and Tennessee, we had plans to start a produce farm that would include mushrooms.

Dylan went back to school in 2018 to pursue a biology degree and began honing his skills as a mushroom cultivator. While in school, he worked as an interpreter/trail guide at Long Hunter State Park and as a member of the harvest crew at Bloomsbury Farms, where he would later help them expand their mushroom growing operation.

We took mushroom supplements from a few companies during this time and enjoyed the benefits. We noticed a clear difference in potency, quality, and price across the functional mushroom supplement world and wanted something consistent and affordable that we could use daily. So, we began crafting our functional mushroom extract – now called Mastermind. It became popular among our friends and family, and we knew we had a good product.

We officially started Nashville Farmacy and decided to focus on gourmet mushrooms shortly after Dylan graduated at the beginning of 2021. We made a specific effort to model our business after strong personal relationship principles and have grown the business through only a few reliable partnerships. In the beginning, we were selling wholesale fruiting blocks to a couple of farms in town and gourmet mushrooms to friends, local chefs, and food bloggers.

We got a great response from our mushroom extract, expanded the line to four, and began selling them on our website. We found our dream property on a wildlife reserve in beautiful Dover, Tennessee, and began setting up our homestead and farm in 2021. In 2022 we started selling fresh mushrooms to Butcher & Bee restaurant in East Nashville and at a few local farmers’ markets. Today, we produce 200 lbs of fresh mushrooms per week. Our overarching goal is to use the mushroom farm as the centerpiece of our organic homesteading operation and as a tool for community outreach, education, and local nutritional enhancement. We are focused on increasing the health and biodiversity of our soil and land and have plans to implement methods of large-scale soil restoration. We will have many exciting new projects in the future, including forming a non-profit and a YouTube channel featuring life on a mushroom farm on a wildlife reserve.

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Mushroom farming is inherently unforgiving. Creating an ideal environment for growing mushrooms is also the same ideal end for other unwanted fungi and bacteria, so mitigating contamination is an ongoing challenge. When one small problem arises, it usually has the potential to disrupt the process for weeks at a time. (Like batch contamination or AC going out in the heat of summer that spoils an entire crop of mushrooms.) However, we have developed effective, clean techniques and protocols that greatly improve our success rate. Like any side of food production, it is an exciting and volatile industry. The lack of public awareness and familiarity with gourmet and medicinal mushrooms is also an obstacle. Still, we enjoy it because it allows us to share our knowledge and promote mushroom education.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Nashville Farmacy is a small, family-owned gourmet mushroom farm in Dover, TN. We provide fresh mushrooms for our community and wholesale fruiting blocks for farms in our region, which they fruit and distribute to markets, grocery stores, CSA accounts, and premier local restaurants. We grow organic, nutrient-dense mushrooms. Alongside our fresh mushrooms, we produce and sell a collection of functional mushroom extracts, oils, and foods.

We are both creatives and artists. I (Mickenzie) am a professional graphic designer and enjoy managing all aspects of the Nashville Farmacy visual brand – and I’m very proud of that. People often comment on Dylan’s passion and enthusiasm for mushrooms. He takes great pride in converting prior mushroom haters.

Do you have any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
Dylan’s favorite childhood memory is when he was 8 years old and spent a week on a dude ranch in Baja, Mexico, where he communed with nature and locals and shared a special bond with his horse.

I was fortunate to grow up with grandparents who had cabins in the northern Arizona mountains. Most of my favorite memories come from spending time there. Painting, exploring, building forts or playing in the creek.

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