The tradition of quality began with Peter V. Leo, an Italian immigrant and progressive mushroom farmer for his time. He not only grew his own mushrooms, but produced his own substrate and managed his own spawn plant. Just like trees and plants have seeds and roots, mushrooms have spawn and mycelium which allow them to absorb nutrients. Peter was one of the first mushroom farmers to mechanize the substrate preparation process, minimizing the back breaking labor required to do it all by hand. Working for Peter was a man by the name of Robert Hopkins, who would one day become Peter's son-in-law, marrying his daughter Mary Leo.
Robert Hopkins started his own business, R&H Mushrooms in the late 1960's, growing and selling quality white button mushrooms to the wholesale market. Being a family farm, Robert's sons worked with him from a young age, learning the tools of the trade. Robert and Mary's son Michael opened his own business in 1981, employing his younger brother, Gary. His farm, Green Hill Farms, sold white button, crimini, and portobello mushrooms to the wholesale market until they transitioned to growing oyster mushrooms in 2008.
After working for his brother Michael, Gary opened his own farm, Hopco Farms, in 1991. From 1991 to 2010, Hopco Farms produced approximately 5.5 million pounds per year of white button and portobello mushrooms for the wholesale market. Gary Jr., Gary's oldest son, began working with his father in 2005. Since then, Hopco Farms has grown traditional and exotic on a smaller scale, becoming a testing ground in a cooperative effort with several mushroom industry leaders to develop healthier, more natural and sustainable growing techniques.
Recognizing a lack of truly FRESH mushrooms outside of Chester County (the mushroom capital of the world!), Hopco Farms undertook a mission to bring fresh mushrooms to local farmers markets in 2016. After the first market season, Gary Jr. made the decision to broaden his skills by growing different kinds of exotic mushrooms, leaving little time for farmers markets.
Gary Jr.’s (then girlfriend) Liz decided she didn't want to let down the loyal customers they had earned over the last market season. Liz started her own business to allow Hopco’s mushrooms to be sold at farmers markets under the name Medina Mushrooms since the 2017 farmers market season.
On Christmas Eve of 2018, Gary Jr. asked Liz to marry him! They will be getting married on the 4th of July, 2020 - so don’t expect any mushrooms at market that weekend!
Gary Hopkins, Jr. & Elizabeth Schew
Our story began in West Chester, PA in 2015. Four years worth of memories later, and we’ve started a business, traveled to Europe, Gary bought a house, we made it our home, we adopted a ton of chickens and a bunch of snakes. On Christmas Eve 2018, Gary popped the question, and Elizabeth said yes!
Gary is a full time mushroom grower, and is a firearms and snake enthusiast. Elizabeth works full time in public safety, and is a chicken and sustainable farming enthusiast (and loves to paint). Our dream is to expand our farm to one day include a diverse selection of animals and plants, and to offer on-farm dinners and education.
We’d love to get to know you!