from a dream to reality...
I remember the day I found my first mushroom in the wild. It was a cool spring afternoon a little over 10 years ago. I was walking to my turkey blind when I looked down to unzip the zipper and right in front of me was a Morel mushroom sitting at the bottom of my tent. I began to look around and soon realized that I was surrounded by them. I quickly forgot about the turkey hunt and began crawling around the forest floor gathering as many as I could fit in to my backpack. I had seen and heard what Morels were before, but never went foraging for them - that all changed after that day. I became obsessed with foraging wild mushrooms. I then spent a lot of time researching different wild edible species that are typical to my geographical location. I found there were about a dozen of top edibles right here in NW Indiana - species like Chicken of the Woods, Oyster Mushroom, Maitake Mushroom and Chanterelle Mushroom. I took courses offered by the State of Indiana Department of Health and partnered with Purdue University to become certified and recognized as a Wild Mushroom Expert (one of the few in the United States). Foraging then became an activity that my girlfriend at the time, Jamie, (who is now my wife) and I enjoyed doing together; it quickly became our favorite outdoor activity. Jamie also became addicted to the thrill of the hunt as well (maybe not as intense as me). Foraging mushrooms in the wild is a primal activity that activates endorphins in the brain. It is now an activity that our whole family enjoys. My daughter, Zoey, and my son, Hunter, love getting out in nature to look for mushrooms as well. Nothing makes this Pa more proud than when my kids find a mushroom on their own.
Foraging in the wild wasn't enough for me. After a lot of research, I found you can grow your own mushrooms if you have a shady spot on your property. I began to grow Shiitake mushrooms, Oyster mushrooms and Wine Cap mushrooms. This turned into a small mushroom farm. Between growing mushrooms and getting really good at finding mushrooms in the wild, I had an abundance during the prime seasons. That's when I'm A FunGi Mushrooms was born. I starting selling my harvests at my local farmers market and it was a huge success. I would sell out every time I'd attend which drove my obsession even more.
After multiple years of growing my farm and acquiring more and more mushroom spots, I began drying my unsold mushrooms and began wondering what I was going to do with all of them. I had been studying for many years all of the medicinal aspects of certain wild fungi. Its incredible the amount of information out there from well-known medical research centers like Sloan Kettering, Johns Hopkins University, Pub Med, Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation, and the list goes on and on - not to mention that the Chinese have been using Fungi as medicine for over 2000 years.
I researched about making extracts from wild mushrooms and I began to make my own. After having personal success with my extracts, I wanted to share my gifts and knowledge of medicinal mushrooms with my friends and family so I began to package my extracts for sale. The sky is the limit for me when it comes to I'm A FunGi Mushrooms. Besides wanting to grow a successful business, educating people and getting people excited about fungi is one of my biggest missions for the future. I receive hundreds, sometimes thousands of pictures a year, from friends and my social media outlets asking to help identify a said mushroom in the wild. Being able to help people safely hunt mushrooms and promote getting out into nature and experiencing God's gifts is a blessing in itself for me. Nothing better than putting away the stresses of life and becoming one with nature and harvesting its greatest gifts. I have a lot of ideas for the future and I hope that you'll be there with me as I continue my journey and learn more about the gifts that nature provides for us.
Justin "The FunGi" Sule
Owner - I'm A FunGi Mushrooms