A VISIT WITH MUSHROOM MAN/MUSICIAN NORM FETTER (PLUS: OYSTER MUSHROOM RECIPES!)

From Arthur No. 35, available in print now

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“Everything we grow, we touch”: Norm Fetter and Heather McMonnies-Fetter (plus special helper) of Woodland Jewel Mushrooms

THEY’RE MEDICINAL!
Text and photography by Camilla Padgitt-Coles

I first met Norm Fetter and Heather McMonnies-Fetter a few years ago in their backyard in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood. We had an outdoor meal with ingredients the couple had grown in their abundant garden, which was overflowing with vines and healthy-looking edible plants. At the time, Norm also had a recording studio set up in their row house and was making music under the alias Enumclaw—think Klaus Schulze’s Crystal Motion or Ricochet-era Tangerine Dream, but with a warmer, more serene and optimistic overtone. Since then, the couple have moved out to the countryside of Pennsylvania, had two adorable kids, begun construction of their family farm and opened a business, Woodland Jewel Mushrooms.

Late this past spring, I took a train out from New York to interview them for Arthur, listening to Enumclaw’s Opening of the Dawn album on my headphones.

The window scenery changed from buildings to rolling hills and open skies, the sparkling synthesizer soundscapes falling like a calming mist. Heather picked me up from the station in her car with three-year-old Leif in the backseat, and told me the story of how she had given birth to their second child, Cymbeline (named after the Pink Floyd song), in that same backseat as they were en route to the hospital the year before. After arriving at the farm we ate a lunch of delicious oyster mushroom soup and quinoa-oyster mushroom burgers, then headed up to the barn, where I spoke with Norm about how what they’re up to…

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Norm’s hand holds a bagful of golden oyster mushrooms.

Arthur: When you moved out here did you know you were going to be farming mushrooms?
Norm Fetter: We knew we wanted to do something. We had already decided to radically change our lifestyle by moving out here and having kids. But we weren’t quite sure what it was gonna be, yet. Heather had been working at the art museum in Philly and I had been doing freelance construction and carpentry. Luckily, shortly after we moved out here, we met a couple that have a really successful microgreens business, and they were super influential. They kind of took us under their wing and really got our confidence up. We had been growing mushrooms on a hobby scale at home for a couple years, but had never really considered making the jump to actually trying to do it as a livelihood. But these guys were like, “Yeah, we did it, we started with a small greenhouse in our backyard and now have a 35 by 120 foot long greenhouse.” (laughs) They were super-influential. And they helped us get into the restaurant scene in Philly and start meeting chefs. If it weren’t for them, it would’ve taken us a lot longer to get up and running.

Do you have a science background, or how did you get into farming this way?
Through mushrooms, really. We just started growing them at home. Just occasionally, in our row house in Philly, just for friends.

What kinds did you start with?
Oysters and Shiitake. When we expand, that’ll include a lot more: Maiitake, Lion’s Mane, Pioppino. But there are so many huge mushroom farms down in Kennett Square, which is about 40 miles south of us. That’s actually considered the mushroom capital of the world. I think 60-70% of all the mushrooms produced in the country come from this one town. That’s why we were on the fence forever, we were like, “Do we really wanna start an independent mushroom farm 40 miles from the biggest corporate mushroom center in the world?” But the more we looked into it, it turned out, as you can assume, those huge farms go through big distributors, the stuff sits in warehouses, and by the time it gets into the hands of chefs, it’s wilted. So we decided to focus on certain varieties that they don’t necessarily grow that much, and deal directly with chefs, and people. We try to harvest the day of delivery or the day before delivery, so by the time they’re in your hands you can’t get them any fresher. And they’re super perishable, they don’t have really a great shelf life anyway. We’ve been able to find a niche of people who really wanna deal with a smaller scale farmer. And it’s advantageous being that close to Philly, too, there are so many great restaurants in Philly. And everybody’s on the whole “eat local” vibe, so… Continue reading

Arthur Radio Transmission #23 w/ Prince Rama of Ayodhya

At the center of a wind tunnel, we find ourselves stuck between perspectives. Is the world moving at a million miles around us, or are we the ones who are flying? This week, join hands with Hairy Painter and Ivy Meadows as they plunge into the unknown, fortified by Prince Rama of Ayodhya‘s ancient primordial howls, growling synthesizer moans and consciousness-melting pulsations, which swirl like electrified streams of sonic debris in the positively charged atmosphere… “Give yourself. Lose yourself.

DOWNLOAD: Arthur Radio Transmission #23 w/ Prince Rama of Ayodhya 6-27-2010

playlistum lyeth beneathio…

[HAIRY PAINTER + IVY MEADOWS DJ SET]
keiji haino – look, darkness and light both begin to copy
clara rockmore – the swan
conrad schnitzler – electric garden
s.d. batish – raga tilang alaap
far east family band – live in l.a. 1978
seltaeb – nug mraw a si ssenippah
alejandro jodorowsky – tarot will teach you/burn your money
arthur russell – the name of the next song
robert johnson (on speed? <—–http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Johnson_musician Playback_issues_in_extant_recordings) – – hold my body down
rusty santos – feel radio signals (botanical mix)
pocahaunted – time fist
julian lynch – topi garden 2
mawan te dhiyan – surinder kaur & parkash kaur
sun ra – celestial road
albert ayler – the wizard
sonny sharock – black woman
nagane aki – the wind that flows through the trees
paul metzger – the uses of infinity (side a)

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Arthur Radio Transmission #22: Sunburn!

Our collective lack of sun worship has brought its bright and might down upon us – here, again, to cook up any unbikini’d nether region left out too long. Awoken from its slumber, The Shiney One’s appetite is seemingly unquenchable and it will stop at nothing to make your flesh more palatable. Come, get dehydrated, and join Ivy Meadows and Hairy Painter as they go on a magical and woozy journey through your skin, with fire!

STREAM: [audio:http://www.arthurmag.com/magpie/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/ARTHUR-RADIO-6-20-2010.mp3%5D

DOWNLOAD: Arthur Radio Transmission #22: Sunburn!


this week’s playlistism:


[HAIRY PAINTER + IVY MEADOWS DJ SET]
max ochs – ‘ain’t nobody high raga’
neu! – ‘weissensee’
spacemen 3 – ‘when tomorrow hits’
neil young – ‘like an inca’
d.r. hooker – ‘forge your own chains’
saicobaba – ‘berimbou man coming’
white rainbow – ‘tuesday rollers and strollers’
tickley feather – ‘rain bucket’
maya – ‘helium’
dunes – ‘handle’
lexie mountain boys – ‘siren’
arp – ‘grapefruit’ (from upcoming LP “the soft wave” coming out in september on smalltown supersound)
lucky dragons – ‘wander birds’
unknown – ‘sorban palid’
john lennon – aspen flexidisc
ya ho wa – ‘journey through an element’
jandek – ‘naked in the afternoon’
sun araw – ‘ma holo’
stellar om source – ‘trilogy select’ LP (side b)
trolls – ‘alone’
sleep ∞ over – ‘your world is night’ 7″
chubby checker – ‘if the sun stopped shining’
opal – ‘grains of sand’
annabee-nox – ‘always on my mind’
dimensions – ‘essential love life’
wooden shjips – ‘summer of love’
blue cheer – ‘doctor please’
little wings – ‘the shredder’
charalambides – ‘i bid you goodnight’

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Arthur Radio Transmission #20: Disco Sigil w/ Nonhorse

OIL FUTURE HEAT OUTPOOST DOCUMENT 20 STOP

TO TIMES QSQIUARE TOPPLED METAL)))) SANDAL OUTSIDE OVERDOME, SITE INVOCATION OF SCUM HEAT AND NEON SHATTERED AND ABSORBED BY IGNEOUS ASPHALT OF HISTORY

FOR TO STREAM: [audio:http://www.arthurmag.com/magpie/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/ARTHUR-RADIO-20-NONHORSE.mp3%5D

FOR TO DOWNLOAD: Arthur Radio Transmission #20: Disco Sigil w/Nonhorse

PART 1: In which our heroes call upon the dosed horn of John Coltrane, the open time slots of Fela Kuti’s studio, and the hallucinatory mojo of Kathy Acker to remove the barricades for to invoke a dance sigil in service of the psychic liberation of times square: hub of consumption, barometer of culture, shrine of empire. Use Your Feet For The Feat Of The Defeat Of The Demons Feasting On Your Future!

PART 2: In which comrade to the cause Nonhorse finds space amidst his beyondmeremortalmultitaskings to build a roomy nest of codified cassettery from which to deliver a highly prismatic and severely discorporating live tape manipulation set. Abridged here, the fulllll badass 2.5 hour tilthabreakadawn extent can be siphoned from the bountiful tank of the Newtown Radio archives. HEAVY

This week’s playlist…

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April 26th – MV + EE at Kung-fu Necktie in Philly


The first time I saw MV + EE was at the Arthurdesh benefit at 3A.M., where those who had stayed til the end shuffled out of the room visibly stunned after their full-on raw psychedelic performance. If you’re in Fishtown this weekend, take the advice of Baby Huey and get mellow one more time… then go to Kung-fu Necktie, where Matt Valentine and Erika Elder will surely proceed to blow your lid.

Sunday, April 26th, 8PM
Kung-fu Necktie
1248 North Front Street / Philadelphia, PA 19122
$10

This show is 21+