Not "Mushroom" For Waste


We love to get to know the farmers and suppliers interested in using Freshspire. We're so excited to work with Carolina Mushroom Farm, so we went down to learn more about it! The owner, Shahane Taylor, gave us an in depth tour, and explained to us his process of growing mushrooms. Shahane specializes in the cultivation of Oyster, Portabella, Baby Bella, Shiitake and Lion’s Mane mushrooms.

Not only is Shahane a "fungi" (see what I did there?), he is also a smart guy! On top of providing the community with fresh and local mushrooms, Shahane focuses on being a zero waste farm! He recycles all the plastic bags used to grow the mushrooms and is searching for non-plastic alternatives. The logs used to grow some Shiitake mushrooms are kept and used as needed for firewood. Any excess mushrooms are composted or fed to the cows on his farm. Shahane will also be using Freshspire to sell any excess supply he has in efforts to reduce food waste in the community!

Don’t forget to support your local fungi and stop by his farm stand at the North Carolina State Farmers Market! And if you’re interested in growing mushrooms we recommend purchasing one of the grow kits for Oysters and Shiitake mushrooms! As always, stay Freshspired fam!

Carolina Mushroom Farm Owner, Shahane Taylor, with Oyster Mushrooms

Carolina Mushroom Farm Owner, Shahane Taylor, with Oyster Mushrooms

Shiitake Logs at Carolina Mushroom Farm

Shiitake Logs at Carolina Mushroom Farm

Shiitake Mushrooms at Carolina Mushroom Farm

Shiitake Mushrooms at Carolina Mushroom Farm

Freshspire Visits the Food Shuttle

On Tuesday, part of the Freshspire team visited the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle for a Lunch & Learn, where we got to hear about various programs offered through the food shuttle to alleviate food insecurity and hunger in our community. IFFS offers free food through neighborhood mobile markets, senior grocery bag delivery service, backpack buddies programs for students, school pantries, and their mobile tastiness machine.

The IFFS states that “putting food on a plate is not enough to end hunger” so in addition to providing free food they also teach job culinary skills, how to shop/cook on a budget through their Cooking Matters Program, and how to grow fruits and vegetables. We were excited to learn that the IFFS takes the extra step to not only encourage members of the community to eat healthier but also teach ways in which participants can cook the produce they are given.

During the lunch and learn we received a tour of their warehouse and got to see where all of the food is prepared, sorted and organized. The IFFS reports that "40% of food that is grown, processed and transported will never be consumed". Similar to Freshspire's mission, the food shuttle is passionate about redirecting this food to fight hunger in the company. Food shuttle drivers and volunteers help recover excess food and donations from retailers, markets, wholesalers and farmers which is then distributed to partner pantries, soup kitchens and other human service agencies. We were delighted to share this common goal of reducing excess food waste with the IFFS and to hear about the programs being implemented in the community. 

If you would like to learn more about the IFFS we recommend attending a lunch and learn which is held on the second Tuesday of every month! Visit their event page on the IFFS website for more information on how to register.

Freshspire hits the road!

On Sunday June 19th, one of our cofounders - Mona Amin, headed to Orlando for the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) Student Entrepreneur Program (SEP).

WBENC SEP fosters growth for the next generation of women-owned businesses through tailored entrepreneur curriculum, a live pitch competition awarding $10,000 in seed capital, and mentoring from the most successful Women's Business Enterprises and America's largest Fortune 500 companies. Students will also participate in experiential learning through off-site visits to WBE and corporate campuses and accelerators. Since its inception in 2008, more than 150 students from 40 colleges and universities across the country have graduated from SEP. WBENC is proud to support women-owned businesses at all levels of success. Women Owned businesses are growing at one and a half times the U.S. national average and in turn contribute over $1.5 trillion dollars to the U.S. economy, employing nearly 7.9 million people, and in 2015 opened an average of 887 new businesses EVERY DAY!

Mona is one of 19 students selected for this competitive program, with an entrepreneur cohort representing 16 universities. She is excited to meet her mentors from Kroger & Ragozzino foods.

Happy St. Patty’s Day! #knowyourgreens

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. To get in the spirit, we were wondering how much you really #knowyourgreens. Here are the top 5 greens that provide the most nutrients. Acquired from WebMD. 

  1. Kale: This nutrition powerhouse offers everything you want in a leafy green. It's an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, has a good amount of calcium for a vegetable, and also supplies folate and potassium.
  2. Collards: Used in Southern-style cooking, collard greens are similar in nutrition to kale. But they have a heartier and chewier texture and a stronger cabbage-like taste. A half cup has 25 calories.
  3. Turnip greens: Turnip leaves are another Southern favorite traditionally made with pork. More tender than other greens and needing less cooking, this sharp-flavored leaf is low in calories yet loaded with vitamins A,C, and K, as well as calcium.
  4. Swiss chard: Both Swiss chard and spinach contain oxalates. Chard contains 15 calories in one-half cup and is a good source of vitamins A and C.
  5. Spinach: Popeye's favorite vegetable has 20 calories per serving, plus it's packed with vitamins A and C, as well as folate. Spinach leaves can be cooked quickly in the water that remains on them after rinsing, or they can be eaten raw in salads. Bags of frozen chopped spinach are more convenient to use than block kinds, and this mild-flavored vegetable can be added to soups, pasta dishes, and casseroles.


#FreshWomen of the Week

In honor of International Women’s Day, we have decided to spotlight our favorite women that are disrupting the food industry. They serve as our daily inspiration, and we hope that you enjoy learning about the impact that these women have made in their communities.

1. Kristen Richmond & Kirsten Tobey, Co-Founders of Revolution Foods

These founding moms started Revolution Foods with a mission to transform the way America eats by providing access to healthy, affordable meals. They believe that proper nutrition is a cornerstone of providing our youth the nourishment they need to lead successful, healthy lives. What began in schools, serving freshly prepared meals to students, has since grown to retail and today they are proud to offer meal options for both families and students across the country. 150 million meals later, their amazing journey has only just begun.

2. Sabrina & Tara Mutukisna, Co-Founders of The Town Kitchen

Their vision is to create community through local food; a community where low-income Oakland youth can shine; a community where they will introduce under-served youth to talented chefs & start-up entrepreneurs so they have the skills and network to pursue their future. They are on a mission to shift the way people engage with food commerce, and ensure that local youth with significant barriers to employment and education have access to and voice in the development of this growing market.  

3. Hannah Dehradunwala, Co-Founder of Transfernation

Transfernation is a 501(c)3 non-profit which leverages technology to ensure that extra food from events goes to supporting communities in need. To date they have rescued over 10,000 pounds of food from events across NYC including corporate luncheons, galas, and conferences.

4. Regina Northouse, Executive Director of Food Recovery Network

Food Recovery Network is the largest student movement against hunger and has recovered and donated over one million pounds of food that otherwise would have gone to waste. That's over 800,000 meals that's gone to those in need.  

5. Shobhita Soor, Chief Innovation Officer of Aspire

Their mission is to provide economically challenged, malnourished populations with high protein and micronutrient-rich food solutions derived from the supply and development of insects and insect-based products. Our world is experiencing rapid urbanization, population growth and shrinkage of arable land, and loss of critical water resources. Aspire has developed a nutritious source of protein that is eco-friendly and resource efficient.


Food We Love

This week, we are bringing our favorite recipes to you! Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook (@FreshSpire) to see them. Making new food is always enjoyable, but do you ever get frustrated when you don't know what do with all of the extra ingredients in your fridge? There are many websites that can help you solve this problem. We've compiled just a few:

1) Recipe Matcher - This website pulls from its large database of recipes. Narrow down the search results by choosing your favorite cuisine. 

2) Super Cook - Updated as you enter your ingredients to make searching even faster. The small suggestion boxes are an additional plus.

3) Recipe Puppy - This website is populated with results from all over the web! 

There are many resources that can help you make full use of the left over food in your fridge. Food waste leads to 20% of methane emissions from our landfills. Reduce, reuse, and eliminate food waste! 

Falling in Love With Shopping

Do you ever dread making that trip to the grocery store? Well here’s four ways you can change your shopping experience to be more enjoyable!

1. Shop with a theme.

Choose different cuisines for each day of the week. Shopping for different kinds of foods (Mexican, Italian, etc.) can make walks down the grocery store aisles a little more bearable.

2. Find out what’s marked down, and plan backwards.

Sometimes it’s hard to think of different foods to make everyday. Try checking the papers for what’s on sale and then think of what you want to make.

3. Shopping scavenger hunts!

Do you have kids? As you explore the produce section, hand your kids the shopping list and have them go on a scavenger hunt to find what’s left.

4. Get to know your grocers.

It’s pretty convenient to pick up the brand name packages because it's quick and easy. Try to spend time getting to know the butcher, baker, or produce manager. Ask them for suggestions on what to buy. You may even end up saving some money.


Net Impact Conference 2015; Seattle, WA

What an incredible weekend in [soggy] Seattle! As one of the winning teams, FreshSpire was sponsored by the MSNBC “Growing Hope Challenge” to attend the Net Impact Conference in Seattle, WA. The conference brought together change makers at the undergraduate, graduate and professional level to collaborate on global social and environmental problems. We kicked off the conference on Thursday evening, incredibly inspired by Stephen Ritz, his students, and his movement: Green Bronx Machine (goosebumps through the entire keynote!). Friday and Saturday brought a plethora of resources, mentors, and ideas as we attended breakout sessions geared towards social business, sustainable food systems, food equity, and impact driven for-profits. We engaged in meaningful discussions with leaders in sustainability at Honest Tea, Walmart, Starbucks, and more, gaining new perspectives and fueling our passion for this venture.

Saturday morning we had the honor of hearing Chelsea Clinton speak-- what a role model. She spoke with such intelligence, composure, and insight while engaging the crowd with her work at the Clinton Foundation. Our favorite quote from her keynote was, “It’s better to be caught trying to make a difference, than to not try at all”. 

The team found some time to explore the unique city (when we weren’t being inspired by world leaders) and fell in love with it’s unique feel while perusing Pike Place Market - despite the ever-present drizzle. From the top of the famed ferris wheel to the eccentric Capitol Hill, we couldn’t have been prouder to represent FreshSpire in this amazing city. We’ll be back, Seattle!