The name Sugar Bee might make you think of a familiar sweet, golden, oozy substance, but the choice crop at Sugar Bee Farm is spongy, delicate oyster mushrooms. Sarah Wisniewski and Dave Grow own and operate this year-round farm – the only devoted mushroom farm in Milwaukee – producing eight varieties. They plan to add bees and honey to their repertoire next.
With the help of a USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) micro loan, Wisniewski and Grow moved into a warehouse space on July 1 and within five weeks had their first harvest. Sugar Bee is the latest addition to Milwaukee’s Green Corridor running along 6th Street from Howard to College Avenue on Milwaukee’s Southside….
Sugar Bee is delivering 50 pounds a week to three restaurant customers right now, although Wisniewski and Grow are hoping to produce a few hundred pounds a week to be fully financially sustainable. “The ability and capacity is there, but we’re still working out the kinks,” says Grow. There is currently room for 800 bags and another untapped room has space for 600 more….
Sugar Bee has its sights set on the Garden District Farmer’s Market, located right across the street, that operates Saturday afternoons from mid-June through mid-October. With significant support from 13th District Alderman Terry Witkowski, the Garden District Neighborhood Association and Simon Landscape Company, there are plans in the works for an urban orchard, a year-round food market and more – which is what originally drew Wisniewski and Grow to the space.
Check out the full story, plus photos by Rob Gustafson, here.