Shitakes are on at Mountain Jewel!
This is our first flush of these fantastic medicinal and prized edible fungi. Not only are we stoked to be eating more of this top quality food, but we are also inspired by the cycles and synergy this process represents.
The transformation of tree to mushroom is truly awe inspiring.
Nearly 18 months ago, we cut logs from our forest in an effort to liberate the healthiest but overcrowded canopy species like white oak and black walnut.
This is part of much bigger picture and yielded plenty of 4-8” diameter logs, perfect food for shitakes. Once cut, we inserted inoculated sawdust into holes in the logs and sealed them up. We stacked them up and let the mycelium get to work.
This method takes some patience but is well worth the wait!
Known for their firm texture and exquisite taste, shitakes are a gourmet mushroom that lend themselves well to outdoor cultivation.
Shitakes also contain many beneficial compounds that support of immunity.
From Paul Pitchford’s Healing with Whole Foods:
”Neutral thermal nature; sweet flavor; beneficial to the stomach; said to be a natural source of interferon, a protein which appears to induce an immune response against cancer and viral diseases. Used in the treatment of cancer, especially against cancers of the stomach and cervix.”
We are following in the footsteps of thousands of mycophiles, forest lovers and woodland artisans that came before us.
By creating the conditions for fungi to thrive we are simply guiding a natural process to yield large amounts of a particular fungi, in this case shitake.
This technique of inoculating oak logs (although many other species can also be used) is centuries old and was first know to be practiced in China and Japan. Tools and techniques have evolved but the essences remains the same: create a hospitable environment for mycelium to digest the food you provide them and harvest the fruits.
This is one of the lowest input forms of mushroom cultivation, and we’re happy it’s now yielding as it inspires us to continue.
Taking trees as part of our Timber Stand Improvement (TSI) strategy, we choose to cut any less vigorous, crooked, gnarled or otherwise inferior trees.
The best part of this situation is that it’s a win/win/win.
We give preference to high value trees with strong genetics (btw this is the opposite of how most forestry is conducted) so they may propagate, we get mushroom to eat and the forest gets fed from the logs once they’ve been digested by the mycelium.
While we could high grade our land and harvest the best and most valuable tress, we are choosing to let the healthiest and biggest trees continue their life here. This has been proven to be a far more productive (for the forest and the economics of forestry) strategy than the short term cut and run approach. Furthermore, we value to long-term approach and keeping trees alive that are already over 80 years old adds incredible value to the landscape.
In our efforts to steward this land with integrity and encourage diversity and abundance, we chose to plug these logs with shitake spawn, in hopes of turning small diameter oak wood into high quality medicinal food. One more layer of connection that we are designing into our lives.
We’re stoked to share with you the harvest and will be surely cutting and plugging more this spring.
This type of cultivation suits our situation well and is much less intensive than indoor methods. That said it also requires logs (which are HEAVY) and land to let them run and fruits. There are many ways to cultivate mushroom and I’d encourage all of you to investigate and immerse yourself in the fabulous world of fungi.
Thanks for tuning in!
Posted from my blog with SteemPress : http://www.ozarkmountainjewel.com/2018/11/16/from-forest-to-fungi-growing-shiitake-mushrooms/