I find a lot of the stories for The Perennial Plate by searching the internet — but when I stumbled upon banjo-playing mushroom farmers Curly Miller and Carole Anne Rose, I immediately fell in love. Then I learned that their operation is all organic, which gave me all the reason I needed to make the drive over bumpy dirt roads and across several streams to their farm way out in the Ozarks, where GPS and cell phone signals fade to nothing.

Even though we only spoke on the phone briefly, Curly and Carole Anne treated me like an old friend and immersed me in three days of shiitake talking, cooking, and eating. But while their unique method of growing mushrooms in large quantities on logs year-round struck me as innovative, I soon found myself engrossed in their ideas of what “local” means, and how it can affect sustainable family farms. Watch the video for a wild, wonderful look into Carole Anne and Curly’s banjo-plucking, mushroom-picking lives:

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.