One of the fabulous foods represented at Eat, Write, Retreat (May 31-June 2, 2013) in my lovely city, Philadelphia, PA was mushrooms. I know the usage of the lovely fungi that are mushrooms is debatable among many but in our family, mushrooms are as every day as, well, water. We love mushrooms and know what our favorites are.
Joe and Tony D’Amico represented the Mushroom Capital of the World well with their presentation on mushrooms, and it was great to be refreshed on how mushrooms are grown. Mushroom Farmers work 365 days a year since mushroom growing has no season and are a continuous process of care.
It all starts with composing the mushroom soil (manure, corn cobs, cocoa hulls, straw). From there they fill the mushroom houses with soil, pasteurize the soil to get rid of all the dead organisms and maintain the organism mushrooms grow and thrive on, then add the spawn, which has been pre-added to a bag or rye or millet to start the growing process. The mushroom beds are then watered every other day as the spawn start to grow. Like any other mold, when the spawn is hit with water it pulls in on itself. As it dries it spreads back out but with this repeated pattern the button of the mushroom starts to form. Once the mushroom head is formed it doubles in size approximately every 24 hours and is generally ready to be harvested in weeks 4-7 of the mushroom planting cycle. For an example, if you look at a crimini mushroom compared to a portabello, you can see an approximate 3 day growth as crimini mushrooms (baby bellas) are just baby portabellos.
Since today is the first day of school in our house we are going to start a new adventure. We are going to grow our own mushrooms with this grow your own mushrooms kit. Make sure you check in on Facebook for our daily updates.