From Edible Hudson Valley
The Sporadic Chef
Devon Gilroy and Tivoli Mushrooms
"In Hudson, there is an industrial building at 99 S. 3rd St. known locally as The Warehouse; primarily, it’s a vast, multi-vendor antiques center. But within The Warehouse, surrounded by rows of vintage furniture, Chef Devon Gilroy operates a thriving mushroom farm out of a modest wooden enclosure that he built with the help of a friend. The enclosure does triple duty as Tivoli Mushrooms’ business offices, packing center and grow room. And there, in plastic bags of decaying organic material, Gilroy cultivates varieties of saprophyte mushrooms, including oyster, lion’s mane, chestnut, trumpet royale, and shiitake.
With the help of fellow farmer Ryan Voell, Gilroy is growing some of the most highly prized foodstuffs in the Hudson Valley while still performing as head chef at Hotel Tivoli—but, of course, the two pursuits are aligned. Gilroy first fell in love with mushrooms as a chef at Chanterelle and A Voce in New York City; but, for a while, he was just a recreational forager who raised mushrooms at home for fun. With encouragement from Hotel Tivoli’s owners, Brice and Helen Marden, Gilroy’s hobby evolved into a business. Its rewards are not strictly monetary. As Gilroy says, 'For me, cheffing always felt very isolating; you’re basically in the same room every day. This business has allowed me to have relationships with like-minded people.'
Raising mushrooms is a delicate process. Gilroy sterilizes a mixture of hardwood sawdust and other organic materials with steam before inoculating it with mycelium. Then, he packs the material into small plastic bags. For two months, the bags sit undisturbed in a sterile, climate-controlled room while the fungi consume the organic material. Once the substrate has been fully colonized, Gilroy slices the bags open and increases the humidity in the room—this triggers the mycelial body to fruit into mushrooms. Look for Tivoli Mushrooms at more than 30 local restaurants and specialty shops including Gaskins, West Taghkanic Diner, The Maker, DPNB Pasta & Provisions, and Otto’s Market."
—Edible Hudson Valley, Spring 2020