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.....


City Mouse said...

Wow - really neat workshop. I bet it was a lot of fun and super interesting. I've often wondered about truffle farming in the woods. Anyhow, just wanted to say hello and thanks for the great posts- I read back some, and your pics are just beautiful too. Found my way here via Prosperine.

Shiloh Prairie Farm said...

That sounds like a very interesting workshop!

Franna said...

I saw that workshop advertised! on the wrrf list?

It sounds really interesting. Some mushrooms are great for dyeing, too. That's dyeing with a "Y" :-)

- Franna

Christy said...

That sounds cool. So far, I haven't found the right place to look for good classes like that, or they don't offer them here.

sugarcreekstuff said...

The year we were building our home, we found the mother load of Morels out back. We are talking BAGS and BAGS. There was a dying elm that we called the giving tree.
Now after living here 11 years we found 2.
Makes me wish we had a workshop here.

Eve said...

All I see is that you have no snow!!! Oh I dream of the day when the snow will be gone Tammy.
Once I get over that and the very cold looking people then I can see that it would be interesting....

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I don't care for mushrooms to eat, but I do find the growing side of it very interesting.
What sort of healthy things are in mushrooms? Vitamins? Minerals?

I rarely see mushrooms here, except above 8,000 ft where they get more moisture. We're too arid in most of New Mexico.

By the way, stop by my blog, as I've got a goodie for you :)


country girl said...

I love mushrooms; can hardly wait for the morels.

Tina T-P said...

Well lthat looks like it was fun - I've never used any mushrooms beyond the ones you can pick in the store and then just the white button or crimini types - hope you have a bumper crop :-) T.

Anonymous said...

It is always fun learning about new stuff!

Come on over to get your award!

Ishtar said...

Lol, I am the opposite of Lisa here: I don't care so much for producing the mushrooms but I love to pick them and especially to eat them!!!
They're one of the greatest treats we can have sent out here to West Africa. Good luck with your mushroom production!!!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Tammy, come on over and pick up your award! (I want to know what YOU are addicted to! :-)