Mader’s Mushroom’s offers alternative gift ideas
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Mader’s Mushroom’s offers alternative gift ideas

Aug 06, 2023

There is a shop in Hillsboro on Main Street that has been the topic of many conversations over the past year. What exactly do they sell? What kinds of things are going on in that place? Is it a store or what? Many questions have been asked and rumors spread, so the Free Press decided to get some answers.

Like many small-town mysteries, the answers were not even close to scandalous, unlike some of the rumors. But the business—turns out it is a store—was quite an interesting place, full of all kinds of adventure and unexpected treasures.

Mader’s Mushrooms, whose tagline is “one-stop shop for alternative solutions,” offers many products that are not available anywhere else in Marion County. In fact, some of their products, such as CBD bath and body products, live crickets for pets, gourmet mushroom DIY grow bags and more are only available in Salina or Wichita. In a time when many prefer to shop locally and keep money in Marion County, having a business like this is key.

“Almost all of our products are made in Kansas, and most are from close to here,” said Conan Mader.

Conan and Kathy Mader, the couple who own the store, have lived in Hillsboro for about 15 years.

As the store name suggests, mushrooms are the main items the couple sell at their store.

“I’ve been growing mushrooms for around a decade. I’ve always gone out in the spring and looked for morel mushrooms. Whenever the drought started coming through, one of my buddies said we should just grow morels, so I looked into that, thinking it couldn’t be that hard. But it’s not really feasible. I mean, you can, but it’s not a real production thing. There are way too many technicalities. But obviously, there are other options that grow way easier, and so I tried that, and it worked,” said Conan.

After much trial and error, Conan learned what works and got it all down to a system that works for him. And he learned how to make it work for others. He now provides DIY grow bags of gourmet mushrooms for customers. He also grows mushrooms in a special room at the shop.

There are four main types of mushrooms available. Lion’s Mane has been known to taste like crab meat and is considered a gourmet mushroom. It has been proven to be a brain booster. Pink oysters are known to taste like bacon or ham. Blue oysters have a very mild, subtle licorice or anise flavor. They are chewy in texture and have a faint earthy and savory taste. Black oyster has a slightly chewy texture with a mild, sweet and nutty flavor. Many oyster mushrooms have been thought to taste like seafood. The mushrooms can be eaten raw like on salads or cooked in soups, stew, pasta, stir-fries and more.

There are many health benefits in mushrooms, such as they are packed with protein along with vitamin B and are a good source of fiber. Research shows that they may help protect against dementia, reduce mild symptoms of anxiety and help repair nerve damage. They’re also a strong anti-inflammatory.

The couple encourages customers to do their research on the different ways that the mushrooms can be used and consumed and also provides a sheet of information, including care instructions and ways to prepare them for eating. All of the mushrooms are safe and legal for those who have worried about that aspect of the mushrooms. Each grow bag provides several “flushes,” or rounds of growth, per bag.

For CBD products, the couple offers bath balms, lotions, tinctures, lip balms, salves and more.

The shop also offers plants.

“I have lots of plants I have been growing from my Grandma’s plants, so I have clippings from those that I will sell. We also sell cards that are plantable and grow flowers as well as other unique, reusable gifts,” said Kathy. “We are all about reuse and reuse. We also have organic and eco-friendly gifts and local homemade products like jellies.”

Spiritual items such as sage and crystals are also available along with many more items.

The best way to truly understand Mader’s Mushrooms and all they have to offer would be to go in and check it out to get the full experience and ask questions.

They are located at 120 N. Main in Hillsboro and are open Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and some Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. They can be contacted via email at [email protected] or at Mader’s Mushrooms and Mercantile on Facebook.