It’s a dry heat

I am definitely not talking about how hot and humid it is right now!  I’m talking about these fabulous new dehydrators that we got thanks to a grant we received earlier this year from Mill City Farmers Market!

Thank you folks who donate to the market charitable fund and to the market for choosing us for this grant.  These dehydrators are one thousand times better than our old ones! We’ve been happily drying batches of mushrooms for the last couple weeks.  You can find our dried mushrooms at the farmers market and back in several Twin Cities grocery co-ops!

The Almonds are HAPPY…

The way things were supposed to go, the Almond Agaricus mycelium would spread under its insulating straw layer for about a month, then we’d peel off the straw and put down a casing layer of lime and peat moss, then eventually the Almonds would start to grow.  Well, the Almonds are SO happy with their Almond House, they have been growing already! We were due to put the casing layer on yesterday but they’ve already been growing for almost two weeks – and we’ve picked over 10 pounds so far! 

The Shiitake are not so happy

As mentioned last time, we have started force-fruiting for the season. The logs we’re forcing this year were inoculated in 2019, 2018, and 2017. Anything older than that is probably mostly compost by now or just not really productive. 

The 2017 logs are not super productive, but they’ve got a little oomph left in them. The 2018 logs are quite productive, growing about three-quarters of a pound of mushrooms per log in our first week of picking. The 2019 logs should be as productive, if not more so… but they are not!! 

This felt like a bit of a catastrophe this last week as we kept checking on them, hoping for some good pinning, and seeing not much day after day. We consulted with our friends at Field & Forest and we think we may have reasons why and a plan for moving forward. 

First, warm weather was really delayed last year – we were at least a month behind.  We were also inoculating a little longer than normal. This means the logs probably didn’t have as long incubating during spawn run (that’s where they’re laying out in rows, chillaxing and letting the mycelium grow) as they should have had. 

Second, some of you will remember the little tornado we had last year that uprooted the shade structure where these logs were hanging out. We didn’t manage to get that fixed till October so the logs spent the summer directly under shade fabric. It’s possible they got a little too warm under there and that might have hurt their production ability. How much only time will tell! 

We’ve made a new plan for what to do with our resting logs this year so this isn’t an issue next year; and we’re going to fruit all of our 2018 and 2017 logs first before moving to the 2019 ones. With this extra couple weeks hopefully they’ll be much more ready for their rescheduled debut.  

But this means we don’t have quite as many mushrooms to sell this week. But hang in there, we should have more after this next week!

(p.s. I’m on a little winter project to add stories from our newsletter to our website blog – which I’ve been terrible at doing! So I’m adding in some posts and back-dating them in case anyone wonders what’s up!)

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