I have a moderate amount of experience with inoculation and cultivation of Shiitake mushroom logs. I began inoculating shiitake mushroom logs in the spring of 2012 after completing an Organic University course on mushroom cultivation through the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service held at their Organic Farming Conference in LaCrosse, WI. This past spring my crew of volunteers inoculated over 125 logs with four different strains of shiitake spawn plus 8 huge diameter reishi logs. This inoculation event was operated sort of like a workshop for friends, farmers, and permaculture practitioners interested in the process. The shiitake logs were set up in a shaded laying yard with micro sprinklers and we ended up harvesting around 15 pounds of mushrooms this first season - only about 6 months after inoculation. The Reishi logs were cut in half (~20") and buried per instructions from my supplier, Field and Forest Products of Peshtigo, WI. We're still waiting on the Reishi to fruit I also have significant experience operating a market garden, CSA, and rotational livestock grazing system.
I'm offering complete mushroom log inoculation services on contract. I will bring my own tools and supplies plus sawdust or grain spawn for the species of your choice. Mushroom varieties that grow well on a wood substrate are Shiitake, Maitake, Oyster, Wine Cap, Lion's Mane, Nameko, Box Elder, and Reishi. Each species of mushroom grows best on specific species of hard or soft woods generally prepared in a couple of different ways such as drill and fill, totems or on wood chips. Different species of mushrooms, and varieties within those species, will fruit during different times of the growing season - spring, summer or fall, additionally some varieties of mushroom may produce well in unheated high tunnels or heated greenhouses during the winter months. We can also help you inoculate a wood chip substrate for use as mulch in your permaculture system.
Shiitake, Maitake, Oyster, and Wine Cap mushrooms are the best choice for reliable production with a relatively quick spawn run (time between inoculation and fruiting).
Tools and Equipment
Kevlar chaps, hard hats, safety glasses, ear plugs, leather gloves, steel toe boots Chainsaws + accessories for felling and chopping trees High speed drills with special drill bits
Specialized spawn plungers
Wax, wax daubers, crock pot for melting wax
aluminum labels + staple gun
Custom workstations with rollers for inoculation
How This Works
Before scheduling a job we will discuss at length your goals, number of logs you would like to manage, which species of mushroom you are interested in managing, and what species of substrate you have available. We will develop a comprehensive plan which details your discrete goals and provides concrete measures for achieving these goals within the time frame outlined. There will be no ambiguity about what we are going to accomplish, how this will be accomplished, and the responsibilities of each party.
You select trees for felling based on the type of mushrooms you wish to grow and/or what species of trees need to be thinned from your woodlot. I will offer advice for proper tree selection.
Felling of trees and chopping into 40" logs or smaller totems can be performed by me, you, or both. Ideally you would drop the trees up to two weeks before the project is scheduled to begin.
I would prefer to do the chopping myself so that I know the logs are the proper length and of sound quality.
Myself and an assistant will drill holes in logs every 6" along their length. Rows will be separated by 2" around the outside of the log.
Using our specialized plungers we will fill each hole with sawdust spawn from the mushroom species of your choice.
Each hole will then be sealed with food grade wax.
An aluminum label with species, variety, and date of inoculation will be affixed to one end of the log.
Logs will then be stacked on pallets or other movable container provided by customer.
Additionally, logs can be set up in your laying yard with a custom irrigation system and/or shade cloth.
After 6-24 months, depending upon mushroom species and strain, the logs will fruit and customer will be responsible for harvest.
Hardwood Shiitake logs can produce for 3-4 years or more. Customer is responsible for care of the logs during their production period. We will offer free phone support or compensated visits to your farm if you encounter problems.
Felling and chopping of trees + inoculation will be based on a price per finished log. For example, we may determine each finished log is worth $8 and 100 logs would cost $800 with a 25% deposit, 25% upon arrival at job site and the balance due upon delivery of finished logs. This price will be negotiated before commencement of the job and will be dependent upon the total number of logs requested. Cash Only
Currently I'm thinking the price schedule will be as follows:
Less than 100 Logs: $10 / finished log
100-250 Logs: $8 / finished log
250-500 Logs: $7.50 / finished log
500-1000 Logs: $7.00 / finished log
1000 or more Logs: $6 / finished log
Set up of laying yard will cost $30/hour + materials
Chipping of limbs and smaller branches + inoculation with mushroom spawn will cost $30/hour + the cost of additional spawn and materials.
We would like room and board provided for the duration of the project.
Reimbursement of travel costs is negotiable.
We're currently scheduling jobs for February-April. Trees must be dropped before they begin to break bud and sap starts flowing. Felled trees can 'cure' for up to a month or two depending upon weather conditions, however, two-three weeks is optimal. Scheduling will roughly correlate with geographic location - southern locations will begin in mid February and northern locations will be scheduled for late March to mid April.
Minimum order: 100 logs within a 100 mile radius of Chicago, IL; 250 logs within 100-250 miles of Chicago, IL; 500 logs within 250-500 miles of Chicago, IL; 1000 logs for all other locations in continental USA
We can finish 50-75 logs per day. With motivated assistance from Customer or employees of the Customer we may be able to finish 100+ logs per day.
Customer must provide transportation for logs from woodlot to inoculation site.
Customer must provide a safe, relatively warm, and indoor inoculation site or workshop - a greenhouse would work great for this.
Customer must provide electricity for tools.
Customer may provide a wood chipper for chipping of limbs and branches. Wood chips are a great substrate for mushroom cultivation.
Customer may provide additional labor resources, however, this will not lower the cost of each finished log.
Customer may set up inoculation as a workshop (additional cost for lectures)
We will carry liability insurance. Signed contract with non-litigation clause required. Project Plan detailing our goals and steps to achieve those goals with specific timeline required.
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Post by:Phillip Swartz
My partner and I are currently traveling in Mexico with a planned return to the states by mid-March. Contact me soon if you're interested in getting a mushroom operation off the ground. Currently I'm most comfortable with producing Shiitake mushrooms on oak but would be open to other options depending upon your needs. I feel that the prices and terms in the original post are fair but as this is a start up venture I'm definitely open to negotiation. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. Contact by private message if you would like my email address or phone number. Thanks!