Primordia Foods

Owner: Thomas Olson

109 West Mill Unit 4
Bloomington, IL 61701
Mc lean County

Mailing Address:
104 1/2 West Monroe
Bloomington, IL 61701

daytime phone: (309) 846-2483
evening phone: (309) 846-2483
Web site:

Application Date: 2022-03-21

Applicant Details

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program. *
Primordia Foods is applying to be a part of the Certified Naturally Grown program because the program aligns with many of our company goals. We want to be able to compost our mushroom substrate for the Earth to use and for people interested in improving their gardens and soil. We also would like to expand on this by involving our business in the process of mycoremediation in order to help people see the benefits that mycelium can have on isolating contaminants in soil and wastewater. We have also seen mycoremediation used to terraform landfills. Certain strains of oyster mushrooms eat plastic and can consume cigarette butts which could help significantly in improving this problem. We couldn't be more excited to become a part of this program which reflects our company goals as well as allowing us to become a part of a community.
Are you currently third party Certified for your produce operation by any other organization (Organic, Biodynamic, etc)? *
Have you held any certification/s in the past that you don't currently hold? *
Have you ever been denied certification? *
How did you hear about Certified Naturally Grown? *
We heard about Certified Naturally Grown when researching how to ensure quality on a professional level. We wanted to effectively be able to demonstrate to customers and businesses that we are dedicated to growing high quality mushrooms that are safe and grown organically.
How did you learn to grow mushrooms, and for how long have you been growing them for market? What has prepared you to farm successfully according to CNG standards? *
Primordia Foods began when myself and a few friends became interested in nootropics. The interest in nootropics stemmed from the Lion's Mane mushroom which research has shown is one of the only known deterrents to Alzheimer's and dementia. Mutually all members of the company had family members that had suffered through the traumatic effects of Alzheimer's and dementia. I've personally always been fascinated by plants in nature that can improve human health. Our journey into mycelium growth and mushroom production started on a small scale which we are now trying to expand. Our production scale has increased exponentially over the past three years. We've suffered through the plight of the coronavirus and the challenges that are faced when becoming a new business. We began growing for farmer's markets in the Central Illinois region roughly two years ago. According to the standards CNG has described, we've already begun farming successfully. Our production is successful because we've followed common industry standards, reached out to well known growers online, and worked through various problems. For example, we've compiled a list of compost recipients in our town who would be happy to utilize our compost at their homes as well as other places. We also have a clean water supply, non-gmo substrate, a pasteurizer not used for housing toxic materials, and meet every other standard listed as far as I know. We are willing to put the work in by any means necessary to become CNG farmers and are excited to join your community!

General Information

Check all types of mushrooms you intend to certify. Please include any types you intend to grow or harvest in the coming 24 months. *

Other types you'll be growing, not listed above:
Are there any mushroom types you grow or harvest for which you are NOT seeking certification? Please list all such types, and explain why you are not seeking to certify them.
Please check all markets you grow for (this will be displayed on your farm profile to help potential buyers find you). *

Please specify what other markets (if any).

Substrate, Supplements, and Other Materials

For each type of mushroom you produce, tell us about your substrate. (Put "N/A" or leave blank for any type you don't produce). Please indicate in the appropriate box below: 1) what you use for substrates and supplements (if any) and 2) the sources of these materials. Include names of products and distributors where appropriate. If any substrate is obtained from a non-commercial source, please describe that source.
Shiitake (Lentinula)
Oyster (Pleurotus)
We've been using "goat mix" which consists of soy bean hulls and straw pellets. We have since started switching to supplementing oak wood pellets with wheat bran. We stopped using soy bean hulls because they were from a local farmer that couldn't prove they were non gmo. We get all of our substrate from Mushroom Media Online which is all non gmo. We will also be getting non gmo soy bean hulls from them after learning that they offer non gmo soy bean hulls. We are experimenting with the biological efficiency of "master's mix", "goat mix", and supplemented oak pellets.
King stropharia, garden giant, wine cap (Stropharia)
Reishi (Ganoderma)
Enoki, velvet foot (Flammulina)
Maitake, hen of the woods (Grifola)
We plan to grow this in the future on supplemented wood pellets.
Butterscotch mushroom (Nameko)
Lion's mane, pom-poms (Hericium)
Lion's Mane is currently being grown on non-gmo supplemented oak wood pellets until we can get a shipment of non gmo soybean hulls to grow on "master's mix".
Chicken of the woods (Laetiporus)
White button, portabella (Agaricus)
Other (please specify)
Did you remember to indicate, for each of the substrates and supplements noted above, the sources of these materials? You may use this space to say anything else about the substrates you're using or may want to use in the future.
Do your substrates include corn, soy, cotton seed hulls, or other byproducts of crops that are grown commercially in GMO form? *
Do you use logs as a substrate? *
Do you use wood chips, sawdust, sawdust blocks, or wood pellets? *
Have you confirmed that these are not chemically treated, nor contain glue or other adhesives? *
Do you use any of the following items as substrate: cardboard, paper, clothing, municipal compost, wood from rare trees harvested for mushroom production? *
Do you use manure as a substrate in your mushroom operation? *
Please describe all sterilization or pasteurization procedures and materials you use. (If none, please put N/A) *
We had a pasteurizer built from the owner of Minnesota Mushrooms in Minnesota who coincidentally was also the owner of an HVAC company and had experience installing pasteurizers in many mushroom facilities including another mushroom company (Myco Mushrooms) out of Indiana. We pasteurize for 12-14 hours dependent on how long it takes to reach the desired temperature and as instructed by the installer. In many cases we will do 24 hour cycles if there is no rush to inoculate blocks. We fill our bags with water until they expand to a solid block with no excess water and load up the pasteurizer before running a cycle.
How do you dispose of or re-purpose used substrate? Please indicate current practices as well as any plans you have for how the used substrate may be put to further productive use. *
Once we decide to retire a block we fill up compost bins which I load into my truck and deliver to anyone wishing to utilize the nutrition of the substrate in their gardens. We are actively looking for agricultural centers and nurseries that are interested in our mushroom compost.
How do you ensure that nutrients from used substrate do not leach into waterways? *
I don't think this is a possibility given that our operation is indoors and our compost gets delivered to people who use them in their gardens and/or yards.

Containers, Racks, and Beds

Please describe the racks and beds used in production (if any). What are they made of? *
Polypropylene shelves are used which are bpa free. They're black 5 shelf units that have vent holes to allow additional airflow to the blocks.
Please describe any containers used for sterilization, and/or pasteurization. What are they made of? *
The substrate bags are cut and thrown directly into our substrate bags after being measured.
Please describe any containers used for production. What are they made of? If you don't use containers for production (as for log-based production) you may answer "n/a". *
Were the containers purchased new or repurposed? If re-purposed, please describe how the containers had been used previously, and how you confirmed this with the supplier(s). *
In your operation, do any of the following materials come into direct contact with any substrate or fruiting bodies?Plastics that contain BPA, polystyrene, treated wood, railroad ties, containers that previously held toxic materials, re-purposed containers that had an unknown prior use *

Wild Harvest

CNG Mushroom certification covers cultivated mushrooms, not wild-crafted mushrooms. However, we include this section on the application for two reasons: #1 It is important to us that those who participate in our programs are mindful of the sustainability of the non-certified portions of their operations. #2 We want to give our members the opportunity to be transparent about their wild-crafting practices, and to minimize confusion about which mushrooms are certified.
Are any of the mushrooms you sell wild harvested (or "wildcrafted")? Yes/No *


What water contamination experts have you consulted to identify which contaminants are typically found in area water, and determine the tests that should be conducted? Relevant experts may include local or state health department officials, Natural Resource Conservation Service agents, state environmental protection or pollution control agencies, local well drilling and water testing companies. (If you haven't yet done this, please indicate who you will approach, and by when you expect to have completed this program requirement.) *
The water we use is city water directly from a faucet. The same water everybody drinks we use for filling our fogger and our blocks. I can look into what's in our water supply but we are very closely related to fungi so I can't imagine there being anything in the water supply that would harm the mushrooms or people eating them.
Have you tested your water at the point of use for heavy metals or other contaminants that were identified by local water quality experts? When? What were the results? (If you haven't yet done this, please indicate by when you expect to have completed this program requirement.) *
I can look into this as soon as possible.
Do you use well water to mist or irrigate fruiting bodies? *
Do you use surface water to soak logs or to irrigate non-fruiting substrate? Surface water includes water from ponds, streams, and reservoirs. *
Do you ever use surface water to mist or irrigate fruiting bodies? *


Do you purchase spawn or produce your own or some of each? (If purchased, please list the supplier.) *
We currently purchase grain spawn for Field and Forest Products in Wisconsin. They have ensured us that with our next order they can include a certified organic certificate. We would like to get back into producing our own but are in the process of expansion so this works well for our timely needs. We expand the grain spawn into our bags of substrate.
CNG mushroom standards prohibit for spawn production the use of adhesives, byproducts of GMO crops, or other materials prohibited for use as substrate. Are you confident none of these materials were used as a growing media for the spawn? *

Pest & Disease Management

Describe your primary insect pest challenges AND methods of prevention and control. (Do not answer "none". You MUST indicate actual pest challenges or LIKELY challenges, and you must ALSO indicate how you manage or how you would manage them. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used.) *
We have seen some gnats over the years and we do our best to prevent gnats by not allowing them a water source to lay eggs by keeping our fogger unit covered and by vacuuming our grow space periodically a few times a week. We also don't allow our mushrooms to spore to prevent gnats as well as removing blocks after their second flush. There are time frames when during removing blocks when there are no blocks in the fruiting chamber where we get the opportunity to do a deep cleaning which usually happens at least once a month. We occasionally will hang up sticky fly traps if we see a couple gnats. We haven't had any severe problems with gnats and haven't noticed any other insects or pests beyond these.
Describe your primary disease challenges AND methods of prevention and control. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used. *
I haven't really seen any problems with any diseases as we deeply clean our fruiting room regularly and haven't seen much out of the ordinary. We use bleach water to clean our space. We don't use any products. If a block is contaminated we do our best to let the mycelium overtake it and if it sets up borders we know that it has isolated the contaminant and will not continue to battle it so we remove it from our incubation and/or grow room.

Site Location and Buffers

Is your operation either partially or entirely INdoors? *
Please describe neighboring land uses to the north, south, east and west of your INdoor operation. *
We are located in the Hermes properties where there is a car dealership across from us and next to us is an electrical company. To the other side of us is a coffee company that roasts coffee beans. The smell of the coffee beans always makes a great start to every morning.
Do these uses pose a risk of drift or contamination? If so, please describe. *
I don't think there's any source of drift or contamination.
How does your ventilation and air filtration system prevent possible contamination? *
We use ac units that have multiple filters in them to prevent contamination and are run on a temperature controller making sure they are not running constantly. We use multiple exhausts to remove co2 from the air in the fruiting chamber. Our contamination rates are incredibly low usually at about 6-8%. In most cases our contamination is even less than that but our average is about 6-8%. Every 100 blocks we produce there's usually a few contaminated but in most cases the mycelium is able to overpower them. For inoculation we use a wooden box with a blower than runs air through 4 or 5 separate filters into an airtight grow tent that is regularly sprayed with bleach water once a month and before inoculations sprayed down with 90% isopropyl alcohol.
If you share space with other producers, please indicate whether they use synthetic chemicals, and if so, how do you protect your production area from potential contamination? *
We don't share space with other producers every unit in our building is separated by brick walls.
Is your operation either partially or entirely OUTdoors? *

Sustainability Initiatives

What measures have you taken to conserve energy, improve energy efficiency, and/or use energy from renewable sources? (This could include system design, siting, insulation, lighting choices, and more.)
We have a very insulated grow room that allows us to run an ac unit on a temperature controller. This allows the ac unit to rarely be on as the fruiting room is so well insulated. Our lighting are all led strips using less energy as well as on a 12 on 12 off cycle which allows them to be on for less time.
Please use this space to highlight any other measures you take to reduce the environmental impact of your operation or to make it more sustainable in other ways.
Everything that can be recycled is recycled. Our packaging for our mushrooms is biodegradable as well as moisture resistant which is great for the mushrooms.

Inspections & Networks

A core requirement of CNG certification is the on-site peer-review. Getting this completed is facilitated if you're a part of a network of mushroom producers who might serve as your inspector.
Are you a part of a network (informal or formal) of mushroom producers in your geographic area? *


I will not label, or in any way lead consumers to believe that a farm product not raised in accord with CNG standards is Certified Naturally Grown *
I understand that I have to complete at least one Inspection of another CNG mushroom producer in my area each year, if there is one within a one hour drive. *
I understand that the inspection I conduct will NOT be of the same producer that inspected me. *
I have reviewed the Certified Naturally Grown mushroom certification standards, I understand them, and I will abide by them. If I have any questions I may contact CNG for clarification. *
You may use this space to tell us anything else you think we should know about your operation.