Our first destination was [storefront] Mushroom Farm. This is a project set up in the lobby of an architectural firm as a demonstration of sustainable agriculture and how one business’s waste product can be another’s resource. The CityLab7 group collected used coffee grounds from local coffee shops over a two week period. he grounds, which are very rich in nutrients were then used as a growth medium for mushrooms.
|Examining the coffee grounds. This was before the mushroom spores were added, right? Right?|
The inoculated coffee grounds were packed into bags and brought to the coolest greenhouse you’ve ever seen. Built of reclaimed wood and plastic, it’s set up in the street-level space near Pioneer Square that is owned by an architectural firm. As an aside, do you call a mushroom chamber a greenhouse? They need to be warm and humid, but don’t need light.
My friend Chris is part of the CityLab7 group and was on hand to show us the greenhouse and answer questions like “How big to they grow?” and “Are you a mushroom farmer?”. My questions were more technical, like “Hey! What’s that white stuff?”. As it turned out, the white stuff was the mycelium, the underground portion of the fungus. The mushroom part that we see (and eat) is the fruiting body, which produces spores. The mushrooms have since appeared, so it should look even cooler now. If the timing and schedules work out, I might get to go back and see it again.
|Chris answers Spencer’s many, many questions.|
The farm is open to the public 11:30am – 1:30pm on Tues-Fri until Mar. 23. It’s a fascinating project and looks beautiful, so if you get a chance, go see it!
|Spencer is growing like a mushroom. The New York Times may have a better camera, but they don’t have a model who’s this cute.|
|Yes, dear – I’m sure those gulls were VERY frightened.|
After we left Pioneer Square, our explorations took us to a rock & fossil shop and a lovely little pocket park with a waterfall. I would have taken more photos, but we’d been walking for a while and lunch was calling. In fact, when I tried to pull out my camera, Spencer said “Mommy! Don’t get distracted!” Our lunch at the Crab Pot and play time at the neighboring arcade are therefore undocumented.
The big attraction of the day was the Seattle Aquarium. They have touching pools, where you can touch sea anemonies, sea stars, sea cucumbers and more. Spencer is asking one of the volunteers questions. Many, many questions.
Our favorite exhibit is the octopus tank, but you never know how much you’ll see – the giant pacific octopus is nocturnal and has excellent camouflage. It can be hard to convince a little kid that a lumpy piece of red rock is actually a sleeping octopus. They’re justifiably skeptical when parents say thing like that. We lucked out that day, though, and got there just before feeding time. The octopus was very active, so everyone got a good view of it, suckers and all.
|Come closer for a hug, little boy….|
We had a great day downtown. It’s fun to break from our usual routine and activities and I’m going to make a conscious effort to do this more often. As much as I like my neighborhood, there’s much more out there!