In the Nederlands, fresh specimens of Psilocybe cubensis, Copelandia cyanescens, Panaeolus subbalteatus, and the sclerotia or truffles of Psilocybe tampanensis and Psilocybe mexicana are legally grown and sold in Smart Shops or head shops throughout the country.
Smart Shops are retail storefronts that legally sell whatever psychedelics local laws permit. In Holland this includes fresh “magic” mushrooms known as paddos, which are by far one of the most popular items.
There are five farms in the Nederlands that cultivate magic mushrooms. These commercial suppliers legally produce between 10,000-200,000 kilos of magic mushrooms per week. The largest farm is Fresh Mushrooms, located in Tiel, an hour’s drive from Amsterdam.
Fresh Mushrooms provides 60% of the Nederlands supply and 90% of Europe and the rest of the world’s supply. While Fresh Mushrooms, during off-season, produce approximately 2000 kilos per week, in full operation, they are able to supply 20,000 kilos or more of the sacred fungi.
In the early spring of 2006, I received an email from the owners of Fresh Mushrooms inviting me to be their guest in Holland and visit their grow farm. Along with Rich Gee, co-author of How to Identify and Grow Psilocybin Mushrooms, I set out for the adventure of a lifetime—to be one of the few shroomers to visit “mushroom heaven.”
In the serene setting of a beautiful château-like lodgings provided by the good folks at Fresh mushrooms, we started our adventure by taking a ten minute ferry ride across a flooded river to the small town of Tiel. There, over the course of three days, we recorded and photographed the Fresh mushrooms Growing facility.
Headed by Hans Grootewal and master cultivator Eric, Fresh mushrooms is the largest cultivator of sacred fungi in the world. We learned that they have five growing rooms referred to as cells. Each cell has six tiers and is used for the cultivation of various species of mushrooms. Hans informed us that they used approximately 10,000 kilos of compost for each cell and with that amount they can fill the six growing bins in each cell. A compost farm situated down the road from the growing facility supplies the enormous quantity of compost.
Fresh Mushrooms produces and freely markets to the public several species including two varieties of Psilocybe cubensis (Psilocybe Columbian and Psilocybe Philipine). The next most popular mushrooms grown are Copelandia cyanescens and Panaeolus subbalteatus. They also cultivate two varieties of truffles obtained from the composted tiers producing fresh Psilocybe mexicana and Psilocybe tampanensis.
The mushrooms are harvested and packaged for retail sale. As the fungi are only sold fresh their packaging is key to ensuring quality and extending the shelf life of the product. Mushrooms packaged by Fresh mushrooms are hermetically sealed and remain potent for up to thirty days in a refrigerator. Each package of mushrooms comes with information on how to best consume them (in three languages).
The different varieties of magic mushrooms produce a range of hallucinatory effects from the visionary Psilocybe cubensis to the more powerful Copelandia cyanescens. Panaeolus subbalteatus, once referred to as the infamous “weed” mushroom was originally treated as a nuisance by commercial mushroom farmers who had to weed it out from their edible white mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus). Psilocybe tampanensis, also produces Philosopher Stones, a kind of a truffle or sclerotia and produces a more philosophical and happy trip while Psilocybe mexicana—also produces another type of truffle--offers an extensive and colorful experience. OF course, these effects are subject to discussion as each person has a different experience with a different amount of the same species on each trip.
Although fresh mushrooms are perfectly legal to sell, dried mushrooms are not. Some head shops in Amsterdam do sell them in dried form with little risk of prosecution. Recently the city council of Wageningen declared that dried psilocybian mushrooms would be “tolerated”—meaning they may be sold in the open. According to Dutch cultivator Rene Rinkkelman, this makes Wageningen one of the more progressive cities in the Nederlands. Small growing kits are also available for both Copelandia (Panaeolus) cyanescens and Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms. A further note of interest, certain pizzerias include magic mushroom pizzas on their menu and will even deliver them to you.
The Nederlands has a long history of mushroom cultivation and is one of the top agricultural producing countries in the world. Also taking into account the Dutch tolerance towards soft drugs, the development of the magic mushroom industry was a natural evolution. With such a successful model in place, one can only hope that other countries will follow suite opening the world of magic mushrooms to more initiates.
6626 BJ Alphen ( Gelderland )
*.[A brief note from John W. Allen, Sept 30, 2008]. Recently, as early as the summer of 2007, due to several mushroom mishaps involving accidental deaths, accidents causing minor injuries and emergency room treatment for mushroom overdose as well as some cases of mushrooms and polydrug abuse and treatment care, members of the Dutch Parliament of the Nederlands enacted laws legislating 'paddos' (magic mushrooms) as prohibited plants. The law took effect on December 2, 2008. However, they based their law by prohibiting certain species whose names were obtain by a paper by Gaston Guzman, me and Jochen Gartz. That prohibited species list also contained the names of about 9 species of edible mushrooms as well and yet overlooked noting the the sales of sclorotia, grow kits and spores that are now available legally in the Nederland.