Hello Almond Agaricus!

Last weekend I was looking at the Almond Agaricus bed from afar. You may remember from a couple months back when we started that bed. We dumped in compost, the spawn, and then covered it all in a layer of straw. And now the bed was covered in grass!  Darn grass.  I was worried about pulling the grass out because I didn’t know if I could step in the bed. Jeremy said that was fine, so I went to weed the mushroom bed.

Imagine my surprise when I went out to the bed and discovered a ton of mushrooms growing!

AA-giant

Giant Almond Agaricus growing up from under a log.

I pulled out the trusty walkie talkie and called in.

“Does anyone have a walkie talkie on them?”

After a few moments pause, Jeremy came on, “Yeah, I’ve got one.”

“Hey, so, there are a ton of mushrooms growing out here.”

“WHAT?! Oh my word!”

Next thing I see, Jeremy and Andy are running across the lawn to see the mushrooms!  Sure enough, they are Almond Agaricus. And clearly they have been growing for a while because they are huge and way past their prime. Andy tried one on as a hat.

AA-andy

We had to toss out most of these because they were too big, but there were a few that were a bit better sized – which you can purchase at the farmers market this weekend!

AA-box

There are a lot more coming on as I discovered the next day:

Okay, I made it sound like they’re growing on the logs, but they’re not. They’re just growing under the logs. They want some shade and it’s nice and shady under the logs! So we’re working on getting some shade set up for them. Go, Almond Agaricus, go!

Advertisements

A flurry of activity

A lot has been going on the last week or two at the farm.  We finished moving all the newly inoculated logs out of the fruiting house. They are enjoying their summer home in the sun-dappled woods.

LogsInWoods

Even though the weather is still a little bit weird, we decided to start force-fruiting so the first batches were soaked and set up in the fruiting tunnel.  This year we’re trying something new. The extra rack above the fruiting racks is to hold the fruiting blanket, instead of having the blanket directly on the logs. The blanket keeps moisture and humidity in for the first couple days until the logs start “pinning” – that is, when the mushrooms start to grow. We can’t wait to get our first big flush of mushrooms!

We’re also experimenting with a few in-ground mushrooms this year – Almond Agaricus, Bluefoot, Blewits, and Winecaps.  We grew Winecaps at our house in Minneapolis way back in the day, but it wasn’t practical to have them at any of the locations our farm has been at over the years.  With our own property, we can do whatever we want (WHATEVER WE WANT! =) ), so we’re going to give them a try again.

We’ve eaten Almond Agaricus, which smells and tastes like almonds, but we’ve never grown it. We picked a nice sunny spot on the edge our field and Andy (farm employee), did an epic job of tilling it up, getting rid of weeds and grass. Jeremy dumped in a bunch of mushroom compost and mixed the spawn in with that and then covered the whole bed over with straw. If all goes well we should be seeing these mushrooms popping up in a month or two – in plenty of time for folks to get some at the farmers market!

The Blewits and Bluefoots (Bluefeet?) like more shade.  We picked a shady spot in the yard near the house and Andy and Ashley (our other farm employee) laid down cardboard (for weed control) and they’ve been dumping in compost, leaves, and wood chips. We’ll probably inoculate these shady patches over the weekend and cover them with straw mulch. These varieties take much longer to fruit so we probably won’t get any till next spring. We’ll all have to be patient!

treeMushrooms1