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Exploring Life and Business with Rishona Hatcher of Wonder Mushroom Company

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rishona Hatcher.

Hi Rishona, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Over a decade ago, my dog Sydney was diagnosed with a form of Melanoma cancer. After getting three Vet opinions, the consensus was there were no viable treatment options for her and she had at most, two months to live. I started researching natural methods to fight this type of cancer and began uncovering some fairly obscure papers written about medicinal mushrooms containing tumor-fighting properties. In the midst of grief over my dying pup, I felt this tiny glimmer of hope. Both the science and the mystery behind mushrooms astounded and captivated me. Maybe, just maybe, there was something to these mushrooms! I started making Sydney a special cancer-fighting dog food that contained high doses of medicinal mushrooms; she was dying anyway so I thought “what do I have to lose? Anything is worth a shot.” In the end, Sydney lived for 4 more years! I eventually went on to write a business plan for a dog food company, however, I quickly realized my passion lie with the mushrooms, not with making dog food.

As the years went on, mushrooms continued to play a very important role in my life. I started reading cultivation books and attending workshops and decided maybe I could teach myself how to grow mushrooms. It was a slow and steady process with a lot of failure in the beginning. But things grew organically and by 2018, growing mushrooms had turned into a full-time job. On top of my other 9-5 full-time job. Around this same time, life threw some unexpected curveballs, including getting laid off from the 9-5 job I knew I needed to leave anyway! Ironically, this allowed me to finally take the leap of faith and fully step into what is now Wonder Mushroom Company. The challenges and successes have pushed me to limits beyond what I thought possible, and it has given me great joy to follow my passion and my calling of helping bring mushrooms into the world.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
An easy ride?? Haha, if only! Years ago, as part of a research project I was doing in grad school, I interviewed multiple classical music conductors on their definition of success and what attributes they believed led to success. All of them agreed it wasn’t talent, or motivation, or determination, rather it was the ability to overcome obstacles that ultimately led to success. And if an obstacle was faced that could not be overcome, it was equally important to recognize this and essentially jump ship, go back to the beginning and redefine the goal to one where the obstacle could be overcome. I think about this regularly when I am facing a challenge, which is pretty much every day! For example, currently my biggest challenge is there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to get the job done. It’s a blessing and a curse as a small business owner to grow to a size that was once sustainable on my own, however has grown to a point that now requires additional help. I’m going back to the drawing board and asking myself what my options are. While I am still exploring this, having clarity around what isn’t working has been just beneficial as recognizing what is working.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Wonder Mushroom Company?
Wonder Mushroom Company is a Woman owned and operated mushroom farm located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, just west of Denver, CO. Anywhere from 6-10 culinary and medicinal mushroom varieties are grown and harvested on a weekly basis. Many of these mushrooms are sold fresh, with the remainder being used in the creation of mushroom products, ranging from medicinal mushroom extracts, to culinary spices, to drinks and teas. A cookbook is also in the works, hopefully to be released in the summer of 2023. As the owner of Wonder Mushroom Company, it is my goal to always remain a humble student and steward to the mushrooms, while providing my customers with the highest quality mushrooms, grown with intention, skill and love.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
• Failures, challenges and obstacles will always be present. Try to see the forest through the trees.

• It is OK to not be good at everything. Ask for help.

• Take “cigarette” breaks (figuratively speaking). 5 minutes to slow down, sit on a rock, and breathe in the fresh mountain air, is quite possibly far more beneficial than what I would have accomplished working through those 5 minutes.

• And when the day’s work is still not complete, stop working anyway and go spend time with those I love.

I cannot say these are the greatest lessons I have learned, rather these are the greatest lessons I AM learning and working on each and every day.

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Image Credits
Devin Seligsohn

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