Mushroom Growing 101

When people find out we grow mushrooms on our farm, we are often amused at their preconceived ideas about the whole process. Let’s clear up some of those assumptions…(for the record, we grow Blue Oyster, Yellow Oyster and Shiitake mushrooms, twelve months a year)

Blue Oyster & Shiitake Mushrooms require manure to grow.
Nope! That’s because they are “saprophytic” – in the wild, these mushrooms are found growing on dead organic material, such as tree stumps, and are actually part of the decaying process. Different varieties of mushrooms have different growing requirements.

Mushrooms grow in the dark.
Just like the idea about growing in manure, this is a popular misconception. Our growing rooms have the lights on for 11 or 12 hours a day.

Specialty mushrooms are hard to cook.
Far from it! Yes, there are lots of recipes that can be a bit more complicated, but it’s as simple as slicing a few raw shiitake caps into your salad, or frying up some sliced blue oysters with butter, onions and garlic to serve alongside your steak. Watch for lots of great recipes on this site.

Mushrooms will go bad quickly if you don’t use them up in a few days.

The best way to store oyster and shiitake mushrooms is unwashed, in a paper bag in your refrigerator. I have never had our mushrooms go bad or spoil – the only thing to watch for is that they will dehydrate with time. They are over 80% water, after all. The blue oyster mushrooms, if purchased fresh and stored properly, will last a week to ten days, and the shiitakes up to 2 weeks….but we bet you’ll eat them up well before that!



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