The Science Behind Shiitake

Double the fun! Two workshops in one!

When: March 15, 2024, 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM
Duration: Both workshops will take around 30 minutes. There will be a 30 minute Q&A after both workshops.
Program Type: In-person only
Where: White Pond Farm
26 White Pond Road
Stow, MA 01775
Cost: Free, Registration Preferred (limited to 20 people, register early!)
Speakers: Elizabeth Almeida of Fat Moon Mushrooms & Andrew Mintz of White Pond Farm

Description of Event:
Elizabeth will talk about the basics about mushroom anatomy & life cycle and then show how to grow mushrooms with grow kits.

Andrew will then demonstrate how to inoculate logs with shiitake mushroom spores. He will clean a log, drill holes, inoculate each hole, seal each hole with cheese wax and staple in a identifying aluminum tag on the end of the log. During this process, he will have someone volunteer to help him. Q&A during and after his workshop.

Elizabeth Albeida’s Bio:
Farmer Elizabeth Almeida has been devoted to food, farming, family, and community throughout her life. She grew up on a multi-generation cattle farm in Ohio, where her family grew, canned, and froze their own veggies and meat.

As a kid, Elizabeth was active in 4-H and FFA, winning many awards in livestock and cooking, including Grand Champion Chickens! 

Her first job–from 14 to 22–was working for a caterer, where she learned to prepare and serve delicious, beautiful food. During college, she worked in a food science research lab, where she learned the exacting scientific practices that she employs today when optimizing her mushroom growing techniques. 

After college, Elizabeth spent a year living and volunteering in the Appalachian region of eastern Kentucky, where her eyes were opened to justice issues, including:

  • Food justice, as it relates to affordable access to healthy food
  • Environmental justice, in witnessing how the land was ravaged by corporations mining natural resources
  • Economic justice, in witnessing the societal effects of a lack of employment opportunities. 

< Photo on the left Courtesy of Elizabeth Almeida

She left Appalachia with a commitment to continue to work for justice. She lives out her values at Fat Moon, where she produces the healthiest of foods, recycles farm waste into a soil-enriching compost for local farms, and gardens, and provides jobs for her community. 

In addition to her work at Fat Moon, Elizabeth remains active in her local community, serving on the Westford Agricultural Commission from 2015 – 2017. She also served on the Westford Select Board from 2017 – 2020 and acted as the Chair of the Select Board from 2019 – 2020.

Today, she acts as the founder of the Westford Community Garden, which is 1.75 acres of farmland that serves over 150 families per year. Elizabeth is also the founder of Flowers to Empower, a local nonprofit that uses a cut flower enterprise to fund outdoor adventures for girls ages 12 to 18. 

In 2020, Elizabeth was recognized as a Commonwealth Unsung Heroine by State Rep. Jim Aricero for this political and volunteer work in the community of Westford.

Andrew Mintz’s Bio:
Andrew was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia, working as an agricultural extension agent in Cocoa (Chocolate) production. Upon returning to the states, he met Mary and they purchased White Pond Farm. After Andrew left the professional world of  Hi-Tech publishing, he farmed full time with a vegetable CSA, and a small farm stand. He started shiitake mushroom cultivation five years ago as a bonus for the vegetable CSA.



Andrea Grossman, District Administrator, at 978-303-8272 or email

This event is co-sponsored by the Middlesex Conservation District and Fat Moon Mushrooms.

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