Premier Mushroom awards grants by the dozen 

Cpt. Tom Robinson, left, of the Arbuckle Fire Department talks about their annual fire prevention program for youth, which is funded in part by the Premier Mushroom Grant Program, at annual Awards Breakfast on Thursday, hosted by Colusa Farmers Market Manager Jennifer Diaz Premier Mushrooms Inc. CEO John Ashbaugh.

The largest group of non-profits to date will be able to pay their good fortune forward throughout the community, thanks to grants provided this year by Premier Mushroom, Inc. 

An even dozen number of grant recipients – the largest since the program was stared in 2013 – accepted their grant awards during the annual Awards Breakfast on Feb. 7, at the Colusa County Chamber of Commerce Business and Visitors Center, hosted by Premier Mushrooms Inc. CEO John Ashbaugh and Colusa Farmers Market Manager Jennifer Diaz. 

Funding for the grants are generated by selling mushrooms donated by the Colusa grower at the Colusa Farmers Market, held each Thursday during the summer at the Veterans Memorial Park, and the Arbuckle Farmers Market, held each Wednesday during the summer in LaVanche Hursch Park. 

“One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of the mushrooms go to this grant program,” Diaz said. 

In addition to the farmers markets, Premier Mushrooms donates its locally grown sporophores to the annual Farm to Fork Dinner, which also generates funds for the grants. 

“This past year, the Farm to Fork was able to give $3,000 to this program,” Diaz said. 

Diaz said their goal is to raise as much money as they can so more non-profits can be funded.  

“This is our seventh year,” Ashbaugh said. “It’s the largest number of applications (to date), and we gave everyone who asked some portion of what they were asking for.” 

This year’s recipients were Theta Mu Colusa, Maxwell Parks & Recreation Auxiliary Committee, Colusa 4-H Sheep, Pacific Flyway Quilters, Arbuckle/College City Volunteer Fire Department, Williams Art Club, Eleanor Azevedo Memorial YES Program, Colusa County Free Library Literacy Program, The Stagehands, Studio ABC, Colusa County Resource Conservation District, Helena Harris Senior Project, and the Stonyford Community Hall.

For each of the groups, a grant of $200 to $300 goes a very long way. 

Colusa County Free Library’s Literacy Program received $300 grant to support the summer book to movie club reading program. 

“This year we are going to do the Virginia Yerxa Community Read pick “Charlotte’s Web,” said Alissa Morrow, literacy coordinator. “We will also do “James and the Giant Peach” and “Mary Poppins Comes Back.” 

Arbuckle-College City Fire District’s grant will support its fire prevention education programs. Theta Mu will provide backpacks to youth. 

Maxwell Parks and Recreation Auxiliary Committee, a first time recipient of the grant, will use their award of $200 to help fund a community Easter Egg hunt and pancake breakfast fundraiser. ■