|The Field & Forest Products crew!|
It was inevitable. With a last name like Krawczyk and the Polish heritage to boot, how could I not become involved in some aspect of the mushroom business? I am pretty sure there is a genetic link. It all started with my father taking me out of school to join his father “in the hunt” for stumpers and pine mushrooms. As a kid I had no idea what these were, but HEY it got me out of school for a long weekend.
Time moved on and by chance I met my future spouse, Mary Ellen, in a mycology course at UW-Green Bay. The competition began, first by seeing who would get the better grades on the mycology exams, and then after acceptance into her family, who could pick the most mushrooms. Mary Ellen's dad was formidable competition, but after all it was on his home turf. After all those years had passed picking with my grandfather and father I realized what I was in the hunt for, and rediscovered the joys of the mushroom hunting.
A few more years clicked by, and while working for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as a field botanist, an article appeared on my desk about growing shiitake mushrooms on logs. Well this seemed to be the ticket to owning our own business and doing something that was to our liking.
So here we are today, closing in on thirty years of running our own mushroom spawn business. Having been married to Field and Forest Products longer than to Mary Ellen (26 years) I look forward to the next set of challenges the business brings, but most importantly, the next hunt.
What I’ve always liked about collecting mushrooms in the Northwoods is that you don’t have to shoot anything (well, except maybe a camera) when you hunt them. I grew up in Detroit and as a kid the only thing I knew about mushrooms is that they were some kind of weird, Polish food. My Grandmother and Grandfather, who immigrated and settled here from Poland, used to send us creepy ropes of dried mushrooms for Christmas, along with canned wild blueberries and homemade evergreen wreaths.
We (F&FP included!) now live on that Peshtigo land that my grandparents farmed and mushroom hunted. I got my first mushroom hunting lesson here; my great aunt made me bite into Tylopilus felleus (the Bitter Bolete), to make her point. I developed an interest in gardening, mushrooming and all things in the natural world from living back on the farm.
At Field and Forest Products, I wear the many hats every small business owner wears along with Joe, my husband of 26 years. I still love walking out to the shiitake laying yard in the quiet; collecting mushrooms is just part of that woodland experience. I enjoy the challenges of cultivating mushrooms. I love hearing from our customers about all their innovative cultivation projects; successes and failures included!
Non-mushroom time includes being with my family and friends. I love most outdoor sports, gardening and I am a cellist as well. My kids, now college students, are more excited to go on the hunt. Now we are seeking out Morels in the spring, Chanterelles in the summer and Matsutake in the fall, and hope one day to find a basket load of Porcini. I’ve had them nibble on Tylopilus felleus, and I too send out wreaths, mushrooms and blueberry jam as Christmas presents!
It all began my senior year of high school when I was a teachers aid for a science class. The class had a field trip at F&FP, and five months later (fall of 2004) I was the company's only full time employee. Currently my time here is split between lab tech and production manager duties. Working here has been more enjoyable than I could have ever asked. I feel more like a family member than an employee.
Besides working I enjoy being in the outdoors. I have a true passion for waterfowl hunting and more recently... skydiving. My family consists of not only me, but also a yellow lab named Teal who I call my baby. I also like to laugh, goof around and hangout with good friends.
Like almost every person here at F&FP, I am pretty good at multitasking - I design and manage the content of our website, design and produce our catalogs, shoot photos for use in our catalog, the website and social media, and am generally involved with anything marketing-related. I also handle IT issues that occasionally arise. During season, you may also find me answering the phone and processing orders. Like Laura, I have been here at F&FP since 2011. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Advertising/Communication Arts from Michigan State University (GO SPARTANS!), and before relocating back to the beautiful UP of Michigan, I was the creative director at a fast-paced advertising agency in Southwest Florida for almost 19 years.
I LOVE animals and spending time in their company, so besides sharing my life with two crazy dogs, Buck and Rex, I photograph and post intake animals for the local animal shelter, spend lots of time in the woods and at the shore observing and photographing plants and wildlife, and support a variety of animal welfare organizations. I am also passionate about art, so I'm always dabbling in something - clay and driftwood sculpture, jewelry making, and painting.
I hope you find our blog to be a reflection of our collective passion for growing and our love of nature, and that we may inspire, inform, or at the very least, occasionally put a smile on your face.
I have been working at F&FP since February 2011. At the farm I specialize in Oyster cultivation on substrates, vermiculture, print and web design, social media, customer service, inventory management, and coffee making. I have two degrees, an Associates in Graphic Design, and a Bachelors in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Environmental Science. I thought finding a job where I could use both degrees simultaneously was next to impossible, but here I am using both at F&FP. Working here has been great! We laugh together, cook together, eat together, and mushroom together. Who could ask for more?
Aside from work I spend most of my time trying to keep up with my life at home. My family consists of a husband, three daughters, one son, a cat, a dog, two chinchillas, three cockatiels, an incredibly loud sun conure, over twenty chickens, six ducks, a rabbit, and thousands of honey bees. Each year we add something new to our homestead in an effort to become more sustainable. When I have time... I love to be artsy. Photography, drawing, painting, and designing are all among some of my favorite things. Also, I like to smile and laugh as much as is humanly possible.
Native to a small town in Wisconsin called Crivitz, I can recall hitting my first deer at age nine... with my bicycle. Growing up in the northwoods was and still is nothing short of exciting. Bremerton, Washington and Norfolk, Virginia were also home to me for many years while my husband served in the Navy, but for some reason Wisconsin called me back. Probably so I could take full advantage of all it has to offer... ice fishing and snowman building.
I look forward to sharing my days here at F&FP with anyone interested enough to read about them.
I would best describe myself as an outdoor enthusiast who is an extremely devoted Packer fan. Currently living in Titletown, USA and proud to be a new member of the Field & Forest Products team; I started working for the company in January of 2014 after receiving my Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay.
During the week you can find me processing orders and packaging them in a secure and orderly fashion. I also help out with a variety of activities that go along with mushroom production. On the weekends you can find me exploring the Bay and small inland lakes for fish and waterfowl or in the northern woods of Wisconsin hunting deer.
I am very happy to say that I am applying my education and experience as the new mycologist at F&FP! My focus here is divided between Production and Research/Development. For production, I expand cultures, test vigor, prepare masters, and regulate inventory. For research/development, I collaborate on a wide variety of projects from methodology, new strain development, soil quality enhancement, and other ecological questions.
In my spare time, I enjoy exploring the outdoors during the fair-weathered months. I love traveling, camping, bird watching, fishing, swimming, scuba diving, and pretty much anything else outside. When I’m indoors, I love reading, watching movies, and playing board games. I am very close to my family, passionate about my pets, and try to lead an environmentally-conscious lifestyle. My newest passion is gardening – I’m already counting down to the spring!
Nick (a.k.a Benson)
I started working at F&FP in September of 2014. At work, I mainly package orders, but I have many more responsibilities. I am the main operator of the semi-automatic pneumatic spawn gun; I "coolerize" the spawn, assist in mushroom production, and help in spawn production. I am from Marinette, WI and have spent almost my whole life in the area. I come from a commercial fishing background where I worked with my dad on his boat for many summers. I recently just bought my first house with my girlfriend, Amanda. I have an associate’s degree in Law Enforcement. However, after joining F&FP I have decided to leave behind becoming a cop and instead, stay working at a job I really enjoy on the mushroom farm.
During the summer, in my spare time you can almost always find me on the golf course. I also try to get quite a bit of fishing in along with playing football, basketball, and tennis. I am a huge sports fan, and I mainly follow the Packers along with Badgers football and basketball.
I have been working at F&FP since… the day I was born. Even as a little baby, my mum and dad (M.E. and Joe) plopped me in a backpack and headed out to the laying yard to pick mushrooms. Throughout my childhood I was embarrassed when I had to tell people my parents were “mushroom farmers” (mycologists just got me blank stares). However, over the years I have become steadily more interested in their livelihood.
I now attend UW-Madison, and (she) man the F&FP booth at the Madison Garden Expo every February. I also work on the farm in the summers, doing primarily log work, and wild mushrooming when I can. Saturday mornings I also vend F&FP ‘shrooms at the Green Bay farmer’s market. If you are ever in the Green Bay area Saturday morning stop in and say hi!
Like my sister Phoebe, I am an F&FP lifer. Starting as a backpack passenger in my pre-walking days on countless woodland forays, I have morphed into a jack-of-all-trades employee. These days you can find me fielding, processing, and packaging orders (specializing in international ones), assisting with grain and plug spawn production, running the company Instagram account (follow us @fieldandforestproducts to enjoy my wit and insight), and occasionally manning the booth at the Green Bay Farmers’ Market. I also conduct research (that may be too strong a word) on expanding the business into Canada.
Previous to F&FP, I spent two years as a wildland firefighter in California, Alabama, and Oregon after graduating from Northern Michigan University in Marquette, MI with degrees in Entrepreneurship and Spanish. In my free time, you can find me going over the handlebars on my mountain bike, enjoying marathons of “The Office”, and reading. Or, if it’s hockey season, my mental and physical health hinge on how well the Minnesota Wild are doing.
Thanks for visiting this blog, and enjoy the hunt!