“The Almeida family loves nature, family meals, and learning new facts about mushrooms.”
Fat Moon Farm’s organic mushrooms are known for their freshness, flavor, nutrition and beauty. We offer quality and varieties you can’t easily find in the grocery store. You can savor our mushrooms at restaurants, buy them from our farm partners, or produce them at home using our easy-to-grow mushroom kit.
Farmer/owner Elizabeth Almeida didn’t start out as a mushroom grower. In 2011, she leased land in Massachusetts’ Merrimack Valley and launched a vegetable CSA. “I loved being able to feed people, the physical work, being my own boss, having flexible hours so I could care for my two children, solving the diverse problems that come up, and playing a role in the local food movement,” Elizabeth says. “But when I tried to buy farm land so I could scale up, the cost was prohibitive.”
Elizabeth was faced with the biggest challenge of her career: Finding a crop that she could grow that didn’t require sunlight or a lot of land.
While trying to figure this out, Elizabeth bought her son a grow-your-own mushroom kit because he was crazy about mushrooms. She looked at the kit and it hit her: “Aha! Mushrooms!” The funny thing was, she grew up on a farm where they foraged for morel mushrooms, but it’d never occurred to her that she could produce them as a crop.
Elizabeth gave herself a crash course in mushroom growing and began commercial production in 2016.
“I got a lot of help from a really generous mushroom producer,” she says. “That’s one reason why I’m so passionate about helping other farmers now.”
Where did the name Fat Moon come from?
"The name Fat Moon Farm was inspired by my son, too." Elizabeth says. "One day when he was about 18 months, he pointed up to the sky and said, 'Look at the fat moon!' His father and I started calling every full moon the fat moon." She added, "When it was time to pick a name, I was thinking about the connection between lunar cycles and farming and nature and it just seemed like a great name."
Coping with Covid
Before the Covid pandemic struck in March, 2020, Fat Moon Farm’s largest customers were chefs at local restaurants. When Massachusetts went into lockdown, Fat Moon lost 85% of our business overnight.
“For the first few days, I just wanted to hide under the covers,” Elizabeth admits, but then she thought, “I can grow mushrooms year-round, even during a pandemic. I need to do my part so people can eat.”
She saw that people were rushing to buy local food and farmers were selling out of everything. “I started wholesaling mushrooms to farmers and small food businesses so they’d have food to sell to their customers,” says Elizabeth. Demand skyrocketed.
Covid made a lot of people realize how important it is to have a local food supply. “We’ve got to figure out how to keep local farming viable,” Elizabeth says, “so everyone can have access to safe, healthy, affordable, local food.”
About Elizabeth Almeida
Elizabeth Almeida has been devoted to food, farming, family, and community throughout her life. She grew up on a multi-generation cattle farm in Ohio, where her family grew, canned, and froze their own veggies and meat. As a kid, Elizabeth was active in 4-H and FFA, winning many awards in livestock and cooking, including Grand Champion Chickens!
Her first job--from 14 to 22--was working for a caterer, where she learned to prepare and serve delicious, beautiful food. During college, she worked in a food science research lab, where she learned the exacting scientific practices that she employs today when optimizing her mushroom growing techniques.
After college, Elizabeth spent a year living and volunteering in the Appalachian region of eastern Kentucky, where her eyes were opened to justice issues, including:
- Food justice, as it relates to affordable access to healthy food
- Environmental justice, in witnessing how the land was ravaged by corporations mining natural resources
- Economic justice, in witnessing the societal effects of a lack of employment opportunities.
She left Appalachia with a commitment to continue to work for justice. She lives out her values at Fat Moon, where she produces the healthiest of foods, recycles farm waste into a soil-enriching compost for local farms, and gardens, and provides jobs for her community.