Having Fun with Fungi

Ben and Nicholas inoculating a bag of chopped straw with oyster mushroom spawn

It’s been a while since our last post, but it finally feels like winter is here and most of the garden has been put to bed until next spring. Our work now consists of maintenance projects on the farm, building new enclosures for the pigs and the chickens, and processing the abundance of cabbage that we still have. Another exciting fall project we’ve embarked on is mushroom growing! 

Our resident mushroom expert, Ben, has succeeded in culturing 4 varieties of mushrooms for us to try our hand at growing. So far Ben has cultured grain spawn for blue oyster mushrooms, lions mane, shiitake, and wine cap mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms are one of the easiest and fastest varieties that we can grow, so we are starting our experiments with those. We currently have two methods of growing them, with logs and chopped straw inoculated with oyster mushroom spawn. The logs take longer to fruit, but once they do they will produce mushrooms twice a year for about 5 years. The bag of chopped straw only takes 3-4 weeks from inoculation before they start fruiting, and then they will produce almost continuously for a couple of months (depending on how well we managed the temperature and humidity). 

Bags of pasteurized straw that have been inoculated with oyster mushroom spawn
Hardwood logs ready to inoculate

Our first mushroom growing setup!

Our hope is that this winter we will get the kinks worked out of our growing system, and be able to produce oyster mushrooms continuously through next year. The substrate that the mushrooms grow on will be used as mulch for our trees and garden after the mushrooms have run their course. We will also be trying our hand at different species, like the wine cap mushrooms that can be grown in wood chips, and lions mane and shiitake which can be grown similarly to the oysters. 

For now, the first flush of oyster mushrooms should be ready in the third or fourth week of November, so be on the look out for an email (if you’re on our email list) or check our online store for availability. Starting November 24th, we will be doing some online sales and deliveries for overwintering crops such as cabbage, kale, arugula, Swiss chard, and winter squash, as well as sauerkraut, kimchi, and hot sauce. Delivery will be available to customers in the Hawthorne, Happy Valley or Clackamas neighborhoods, and will happen every other week. Anyone who wants to can also pick up from the farm on the same days. Delivery and pick-up dates through the end of the year are Nov. 24, Dec. 8, and Dec, 22 and orders must be submitted online by 5 pm the day before.

Oyster mushroom pins on a log from last year!

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