BENNETT, Colo. — About one hour east of Denver, Colorado’s land opens up for miles in every direction.
"It’s mostly farmland out here where a lot of it is commodity crops: soy, wheat, sunflowers," said David Demerling, co-founder of Sugar Moon Mushroom.
At Sugar Moon, their product doesn’t exactly come from the land, but rather a pair of completely transformed shipping containers.
"There is nothing that I enjoy more than seeing a successful mushroom growing," said Irving Reza, general manager of Sugar Moon Mushroom.
For Reza, these mushrooms are the result of years of hard work and a dream of running his own farm.
"In the past, I had difficulty obtaining work," Reza said. "So, I would go to interviews and they would interview me and everything would be fine, but then wouldn’t get a call back. So, sometimes you have to be your own boss and you have to take the risk."
The risk he and his partner Demerling took increased drastically when they decided to open up last fall, in the middle of the pandemic.
"Restaurants closing impacted us by cutting out half of our sales. Basically, we were in stores with our microgreens, which kept us going," Demerling said.
Several harvests later, Sugar Moon Mushroom has found its feet and distributes its produce to different restaurants and organizations in the Denver metro area.
"In Colorado, mushrooms have grown a lot in popularity in the last few years," Reza said.
Not only do they help fill the increasing demand of mushrooms, but they do so in an ingenious way of battling the elements of Colorado’s dry land and creating their own environment for mushrooms to flourish. After several weeks of growth, every mushroom eventually makes its way to the prepping and packing stage.
"Well, it is not perfect, but it does well enough," Reza said. "It is better than some places like Arizona where it is really dry and has very little water."
From their small farm in Bennett to the tables of Coloradans across the Front Range, Sugar Moon Mushrooms hopes to make a lasting impression with every mushroom they grow.