Kasota man finds passion, path to help other veterans

Kasota man finds passion, path to help other veterans

KASOTA, Minn. (KEYC) - Efraim Cadriel has found another calling later in life. It’s a career that’s become his passion since he discovered the healing power of mushrooms.

“From nuclear medicine technologist and a Sergeant First Class in the Army to a mushroom farmer," mushroom farmer Efraim Cadriel said.

After medically retiring from the military and beginning a career at a hospital, Efraim Cadriel’s PTSD triggers pushed him out of the medical field.

His wife encouraged his decision to begin growing mushrooms.

“I got morels and threw it in a blender, my wife’s blender, she wasn’t too happy with me, wood chips and molasses and grain all the stuff that spores like and I was like a little mad scientist again," Cadriel added.

From there, Cadriel discovered the health benefits you can gain from mushrooms and now grows several species year-round. Some, he says, are powerful enough to help with cognitive impairment even potentially dementia.

“I put it in a fruiting room where I control the temperature and the humidity between 55 and 65 degrees with 90 to 95% humidity. Depending on the species, I’ll have mushrooms anywhere between one week and three weeks," Cadriel said.

In just a year and half since starting, his mushrooms have been featured at the Wooden Spoon and Chankaska Winery.

Cadriel hopes to make more of an impact with his farm. His goal is to become big enough to employ veterans.

“I was almost one of the 22 that take their lives every day, thank God I didn’t. I found hope and with that hope I want to go and talk to other veterans and veterans’ families. Let them know that as bad as it gets, the nightmares, the memories there is hope there’s always a reason to keep, keep fighting," Cadriel added.

And building on the skills all former military bring to the table - attention to detail and the ability to adapt to a new passion.

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