Mushroom Valley Farms: The Campaign Launch

This will be the 2nd article in The Mushroom Blog, and I'm thrilled to be writing it. At the end of the 1st article, I mentioned that Pancho and I had found the perfect little piece of Commercial Real Estate that we are dying to lay a claim on, but I didn't want to publicize it too much, just in case we didn't get the chance to acquire it. But I changed my mind. :)

For the past year, we have been dead-set on finding a couple of acres in the middle of nowhere and starting our homestead. But this opportunity that we stumbled upon is something that has us star-struck.

The two of us had spent many months discussing where to look for a property. We had traveled northward as far as Montague, California, which is only a couple of hours away from the Oregon border. It was a gorgeous region and the property we were looking at was about 100 feet away from a lake. But as we watched the sunset, we realized that it was only 5 o'clock pm and the mountain directly South of the parcel was already blocking the Sun's loving, warm rays from where we stood. It was a wonderful possibility, but I have to do the best job I can to find land that will make my garden happy, too. And with that, we passed on the property.

It's been the same for the past year. We frequent BillyLand.Com which has a great selection of owner-financed land. This means you can buy a property, up to 10 acres or so, with a down-payment as low as $250 and expect payments of approximately $250-300 a month.

Some have utilities available to the property, if that's what the route you wish to take. Others are completely off-grid and would require the owner to find alternative means of power, water, and sewage, which is a-okay with us. There are properties on paved roads, and there are properties that would require you to make a road. There are endless possibilities if one looks for land outside of California, but Pancho and I have had our share of living in other states. Although there are areas whose beauty outshine The Golden State, these deserts, valleys and mountains are home to us.

On another one of these adventures to a possible homestead site is when we found the one that we're now after. I found a listing for 10 acres of Joshua Tree land; gorgeous land surrounded by mountains and very few neighbors. Unfortunately, it was also neighbored by a city gas pipeline. And as is often the case on these hunts, one of us loved the property, and the other didn't. Whichever property that we decide on is going to be the location of our home and work lives for a long time, so there is no cutting corners on this. We both have to agree wholeheartedly on the land. So, the 10 acres didn't make the cut.

Image by skeeze of Pixabay
Joshua Tree by Night

Rather disappointed, but still optimistic about the area, I convinced Pancho to visit one more parcel with me. A small commercial property that wasn't too far. I have to admit that I didn't have my hopes too high, but we were already in the area, so what could it hurt?

Almost as if it was a prank from the Universe, when we least expected it, we both loved it! It was perfect! Till this day, it has been the only property that both Pancho and myself have had no disputes over: we both foresee it being the perfect place to launch Mushroom Valley Farms.

It's nothing crazy; just this little 0.30 acres of desert land, next to a church and a tire shop. Head West just a few minutes from the West Entrance to Joshua Tree National Park, and you'll drive right past it.

Down the street on Highway 62 is a shop called The Station. We were drawn into the store by the giant Muffler Man outside. If you've ever seen one of these, you're probably aware that these 20-something-foot men are scattered around the United States, and used to hold giant mufflers! But, as we were informed by the clerk at this hip shop, the mufflers that these fiberglass giants used to adore are a thing of the past. Either they've been stolen by cool mischievous kids, or the winds lay claim to them. Regardless, this enormous cowboy, now named Big Josh, stands outside of The Station in Joshua Tree with his hands empty, just awaiting the day when his beloved muffler makes its way back to him.

Too curious, we decided to take a look around in Big Josh's pit stop. It turns out that the location has been a number of things in its time, including a gas station that dates back to 1949. Today, it's a chic coffee-and-souvenir shop; a funky little place with vintage, quirky signage, cool people to chat with, and loads of fun stuff that you'll probably spend your gas money on. The cinder-block walls surrounding the outside patio were lined with a hundred or so rusty, unique gas tanks. I would personally love to throw a Birthday Bash at this location in the near future!

The lovely young women behind the counters were way too much fun to chat with. When we shared with them our plans to start a mushroom farm in the area, they lit up! I've got to say that the enthusiasm that we have been encountering when we talk about our plans is such a fulfilling feeling; it seems like people love the thought of exotic, fresh, locally-grown mushrooms. That alone is worth our pursuit.

Our future farm location (fingers crossed) is home to the annual Joshua Tree Music Festival, and in 2018 Joshua Tree National Park drew a whopping 2.9 million visitors. People from all around come to watch the skies at 5,000 ft above sea level without any light pollution. The old Joshua Trees stay up all night counting the stars with you. For these and many other reasons, we are super excited to be pursuing this parcel. We felt right at home here.

Image by David Mark of Pixabay
Ryan Mountains at Joshua Tree National Park

Having found this little haven means that we have to shift our gears! Whereas we were ready and willing to put a $300-$500 down-payment for a piece of off-grid living, this little piece of Earth is zoned Commercial, which means that we would not have to go through the costly process of getting our property permitted for a farm. Of course, there is the trade-off of the size of the property, but for a mushroom farm start-up, it makes sense to us to begin with something small and grow our project as the demand grows.

After some deliberation, we decided to Launch the Mushroom Valley Farms Kickstarter Campaign. We are trying to raise the $3,000 down-payment for the property we fell for. Normally, we would just save the money ourselves. It is because of how long we've been on the property hunt, and how unexpectedly pleasant of a find we found, that we are asking for help on the down-payment. The monthly payments would be around $350, which we can easily fulfill.

We are aware that we may not be able to raise the funds before someone else buys the property, but if that's what is written in the stars, then we are ready to accept that loss of opportunity. That doesn't mean that we wouldn't continue in our strive for a gourmet mushroom farm in this region; it merely means that we would go back to our original plans.

This launch has been loads of fun for us, regardless. I have been writing with a purpose again, which I hadn't done since I attempted a campaign for Homes of Mother Earth. That was a nerve-racking Launch, but that project is still the prominent goal of my life. But, as in the first article, I will push off writing anything about the H.O.M.E. Network for another time.

For now, we want to thank Flip, Dave Hackman, and Anonymous who have been our first supporters! Their donations have really made us feel like this dream is within our grasp! Also, a warm "Thank You" to Glen of The Station for allowing us to feature their trendy shop on our Blog.

Mush Love, ya'll!

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