Tuesday, January 27, 2009
The Fungus Amongus
Last Saturday, my friend, Tara,(yes, she is the infamous chicken hat wearing chicken dance dancing friend):) and I attended a WSU (WA State U) workshop called Forest Farming for Fun and Profit. The course was to learn how to grow commercially viable mushroom species.
I had always wanted to go out mushroom hunting for morels and chantrelles, but didn't trust myself with identification.
The course was taught by WSU Extension Forester, Jim Freed and Julia Coffey from Fungi Perfecti. It was a fascinating introduction to the world of mushrooms. It was held at a beautiful farm, Ed's Apples just outside of the town of Sultan.
I had no idea all the beneficial uses for fungi. From medicinal to restoring roads from logging in forest lands. Fungi can remove all kinds of toxins from the body as well as the environment. They are even testing a species, turkeytail, that is shown to help with fighting cancer. Check out their online catalog for all the great educational, medicinal and fun items.
The owner of Fungi Perfecti has even written a book on how mushrooms can save the world, the books title is Mycelium Running
Here in the Pacific Northwest we can grow about a dozen species, including oyster, shiitake, and maiitake, using many of our native trees. Outdoor log-cultivated mushrooms are considered to be higher quality and are nearly twice as high in health-promoting polysaccharides as those grown indoors on artificial substrates.
They talked about using several different growing mediums such as logs, stumps and sawdust. (They even have a kit for growing them in your coffee grounds!):)
After the lecture we went outside for a demo on how to prepare and inoculate logs as well as harvesting techniques and care to help promote optimum production. We were even given a few plugs of shiitake mushrooms to start with.
If you get an opportunity to take a class like this I highly recommend it, I found myself fascinated throughout the 4.5 hours.
Below are some pics of the demos.....