As the psilocybin movement spreads like mycelium on the heels of the normalization of Cannabis, mushroom cultivators and product manufacturers quest for the best way to translate their passion for an increasingly mainstream audience.
Sacred Fruits, a California-born passion project run by psychonauts who have spent years perfecting their processes and developing a branded identity that speaks to the power of psilocybin, seeks to bring a level of quality control and consistency to what many believe will be the next market to break out of the illicit underground and into a legalized therapeutic space.
Leaf Magazines connected with Sacred Fruits, who wished to speak anonymously, to discuss their path to mushroom medicine.
Sacred Fruits’ introduction to psilocybin may sound familiar to anyone who’s gone psyche-spelunking prior to this new, branded and marketed era.
“The first time it was kind of something that found its way to me,” Sacred Fruits said. “I was probably around 18 or 19, and did it in a great setting. We consumed the mushrooms at their house and listened to records. Listened to Jefferson Airplane and stuff like that, laid in the hammock and on the floor. That opened my mind to psychedelics, but it wasn’t something I actively pursued for another three to five years. The next time that I consumed mushrooms, I wanted to find mushrooms, and it was a mission that I set out to accomplish. It was 4/20 at Golden Gate Park and Hippie Hill. I was with some friends and we smoked weed every day, so we decided if we really wanted to celebrate, we wanted to find mushrooms. … I stumbled upon some chocolates and they were in the shape of dancing bears, which I was super stoked on … Experiencing the mushrooms with friends on a sunny day in the park turned out to be a wonderful setting. We shared a lot of laughs, and memories were made. It was the common experience with friends of mine that opened my eyes to the possibilities of what mushrooms are capable of.”
A Taste for Cultivation
Aside from opening Sacred Fruits’ eyes to the power of mushroom medicine, that experience on Hippie Hill sparked inspiration.
“I wanted to take a heavier dose, because my first time was a moderate to light dose. I had to eat a lot of chocolate to accomplish that heavier dose, and I’m not really into chocolate – so I wasn’t into eating all that chocolate,” Sacred Fruits said. “That’s what sparked my interest in cultivation.”
The project started slow, with batches coming only when Sacred Fruits ran low on personal supply. But with the scalability of PF Tek – the cultivation methodology pioneered by Robert “Psylocybe Fanaticus” McPherson using a blend of grain (brown rice, rye berries) and vermiculite – they started getting some ideas.
“It was still pretty much a hobby for a few years,” Sacred Fruits said. “It wasn’t until 2018-2019, through the encouragement of many friends who started to tell me to take it seriously.”
Sprouted From the Plant
One of Sacred Fruits biggest champions was a close friend who is a Cannabis cultivator on the freshly minted legal market.
“He was actually encouraging that I learn tissue culture so he could use my knowledge in what he does, as well,” Sacred Fruits said.
With inspiration from the Cannabis community, they decided to build their reputation on single-strain, single-source products – in order to provide people with consistency and reliable quality they said was hard to find – when many people were making products from simply whatever psilocybin sources they could get their hands on.
“I think one of the most important things with the single source is that it allows for strict quality control,” Sacred Fruits said. “The high level of attention to detail carries over to every step of the process. Whereas working with multiple suppliers to produce a product, obviously there could be different quality standards across different suppliers, different moisture levels in the finished product – things like that. It’s more consistent when it comes from one place with one SOP.”
Sacred Fruits branded its product line with a human brain overlaid with an unlocked padlock, and built out a lineup of dried and freeze-dried whole mushrooms, strain-specific capsules, and Magic Carpets – which are fruit leather-style strips. Each package offers weight-based dosage advice culled from years of anecdotal experience and personal research.
“I really like the Avery’s Albino. I love the appearance, and the effects,” Sacred Fruits said. “The effects of the Albino varieties I find tend to be a bit more visual.”
Bearing Future Fruit
The differences in strains and products will move from the anecdotal to the scientifically measurable in the next era of mushroom medicine, Sacred Fruits says, ushered in by testing labs like the pioneers at Oakland Hyphae that hold their own testing-based competition: The Psilocybin Cup.
“I think we’re still in the dark ages, and I’m excited to see more testing for other alkaloids other than psilocybin and psilocin,” Sacred Fruits said.
It will be especially helpful for the process of making extract-based products, which is where Sacred Fruits’ R&D is focusing its future efforts.
“People are pretty familiar with weights (such as eighths), and there’s enough anecdotal data to let you know what to expect from a different dose, but I don’t think the same thing can be said for extracts, until testing allows us to measure what’s in there,” Sacred Fruits said.
Testing for different alkaloids and compounds and running comparisons against effect will be where the true progress is made.
“But in the meantime,” Sacred Fruits said, “consuming the extract by itself has been pretty interesting and fun.”