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Ximena Zamacona chose the name Full Circle for her La Mesa mushroom farm because mushrooms are “the ultimate recyclers,” she said. “We use a byproduct and transform it into food. I think that’s really awesome.”
With a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a minor in agriculture, a career in the controlled-environment crop cultivation, a natural green thumb and a love for sustainability and making nature and science work together, she’s producing about 150 pounds of mushrooms each week to sell to local restaurants and residents. She even delivers!
Zamacona uses wood pruned from Stahmann Farms pecan trees as a host and adds nitrogen and other nutrients to grow shiitake, lion’s mane, oyster and black pearl mushrooms in a small greenhouse on south New Mexico Highway 28 in La Mesa. The four varieties take several weeks to mature in an environment where everything is controlled, including the amount of sunlight they receive, the humidity, temperature, carbon dioxide and fresh air.
“You need to find a balance so they can grow big and healthy,” Zamacona said.
After the mushrooms are harvested, the organic material created to help them grow is put back into the soil as compost, she said, and the cycle of growing and harvesting continues.
Mushrooms are a healthy food that can help the human body build immunity and fight disease and cholesterol, Zamacona said. “They enhance flavor too,” she said.
“That’s my thing,” she said. “I’ve always loved being around plants and nature.”
She moved to the United States to accept a job working for a greenhouse in Dallas, then took a job with Houweling's Tomatoes, a family-owned greenhouse and farm in Mona, Utah. She met Rovirosa there and moved back with him to his native Las Cruces two years ago.
The couple began growing mushrooms last August and launched Full Circle in January. COVID-19 has temporarily slowed the company’s outreach to local restaurants, Zamacona said, so she is focusing on home delivery. The minimum order is a half-pound, with Zamacona packing mushrooms each morning and making deliveries in the afternoon.
“I’m doing everything right now: growing, marketing, the cleaning lady, packing, delivering,” Zamacona said. She is also talking to the New Mexico State University College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences about “how we can work together,” she said.
“Ximena has an extensive background in biochemistry and green-housing,” said Humberto Hijar, regional manager of WESST, a small-business consulting firm with offices in Las Cruces. “Her history, as well as her methodology, is very unique, environmentally conscious and resourceful,” Hijar said.
You will find more information on mushrooms, including recipes, on Facebook (at Full Circle Mushrooms) and Instagram.
Contact Zamacona at 214-491-9262.