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Making introductions, making morel mushroom kits, and more  RSS feed

 
Posts: 28
Location: Peotone, IL
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Hello all - I'm new on this site. My wife and I are working our way towards our homesteading / small-business goals - I'm an aspiring mushroom farmer. Last year I started a home business called Mushroom Man of Peotone as a stepping-stone to the mushroom farm of my hard-work dreams. I sell great big audacious mushroom growing kits for Morel, Lion's Mane, Oysters, and Shiitake mushrooms, and ship all over the lower 48 United States. You can see my store and blog at mushroommanofpeotone.com. I'm proud of my 5-star rating on Etsy with 167 sales at this point (with more on Amazon and EBay).

My big grow kits are 8.5 lbs each, they perform very well, and I'm selling the exact same kits that I am fruiting out myself in my mushroom farm. Each week I produce sterilized mushroom blocks for growing choice edible mushrooms. Anything I sell online is inoculated with the fungus of your choice and shipped out to my customers with easy to follow, written instructions. Anything not sold goes into my own fruiting chamber for sale at the farmer's market. In my indoor mushroom farm, I grow Oyster, Lion's Mane, Shiitake, and am working on others as well. Outdoors, I have two big Morel mushroom beds I've planted in my backyard this spring, and a garden of shiitake blocks that produce whenever it rains.

Anyhow, I do love to talk about growing mushrooms and I'm not a walking sales pitch in my daily life. I have a day job in corporate tech support. My wife and I do some mushroom hunting at the state park (really bad luck this year so far actually LOL). My wife has a home business making tie-dye and upcycled clothing creations, and we've sold her wares at the market for years now. I'm an old hand at the farmer's market as HER roadie, but this year I've got my own table out there selling fresh mushrooms and mushroom growing kits. I'm waiting on my first nice flush of morel mushrooms, planted this spring. I do list several techniques for growing Morels on my blog, and the method I used was to create a layered 8x2 bed, 1 foot deep, packed with hardwood and spawned with morchella importuna. I sell both morchella importuna and morchella rufobrunnea as kits, actually. Check out my site at mushroommanofpeotone.com.  

I've been spending a lot of time fixing up my indoor fruiting chamber recently. As a self-taught mushroom cultivator, I've found plenty of lessons in that project. My indoor chamber is a 22x7x8 plastic wrap room with a concrete floor and external light wooden frame holding the whole thing up.

I've had some misadventures, learning this craft... I found out this year what happens when you run unfiltered hard water through a humidifier.  You get a fog with a high mineral content, that leaves a white powdery residue EVERYWHERE... ugh! Clogs up your furnace filter invisibly as well, with a white powder that was the same color as the filter itself, and makes your wife yell from upstair that the furnace is on the blink.  That was a long lesson learned over the winter.  I just installed a nice UV-C germicidal light in my homemade ventilation system - whoops, now I've got freaky blue light shining out of my metal vents - and just got done painting the whole rig black on the inside, to absorb the death rays. So like any aspiring homesteader, I'm just knocking down problems as they appear.

I look forward to meeting some of you. I enjoy good conversation and you all seem like a pretty neat, diverse group.
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pollinator
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Welcome. So if i bought a shitake kit, what is the rundown on how to grow them? Im in texas if that helps. Ive innoculated logs a couple of times and failed.....
 
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Hi Patrick,

I really like to see people start agriculture businesses with little more than a good idea and a willingness to do what it takes to be ultimately successful. Your pictures show a set-up that appears to be inexpensive but well thought out, a "labor of love" if you will. You and your wife are smart to keep your regular sources of income while you work on your dream. Putting in the time after work and at the market on days off will reward you with an interesting and profitable farm business. Welcome.   
 
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Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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Steller project, there Patrick.  Welcome to Permies.  I hope that your business does well.  Since you aren't sending anything to Canada, I will have to settle for info off your blog or whatever you are generous enough to offer on our site.  Nice shirts as well.  My compliments to your wife's handiwork.
 
Patrick Bales
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Location: Peotone, IL
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Steve Mendez wrote:Hi Patrick,

I really like to see people start agriculture businesses with little more than a good idea and a willingness to do what it takes to be ultimately successful. Your pictures show a set-up that appears to be inexpensive but well thought out, a "labor of love" if you will. You and your wife are smart to keep your regular sources of income while you work on your dream. Putting in the time after work and at the market on days off will reward you with an interesting and profitable farm business. Welcome.   



THANK YOU, Steve. I feel welcomed, and recognized. It's good to be here.

Roberto pokachinni wrote:Steller project, there Patrick.  Welcome to Permies.  I hope that your business does well.  Since you aren't sending anything to Canada, I will have to settle for info off your blog or whatever you are generous enough to offer on our site.  Nice shirts as well.  My compliments to your wife's handiwork.



Thanks Roberto! I passed on the compliment to my wife. She does some neat designs. Yup, I need to put in some research on how to pass through Customs with a mushroom kit. There are some good, reliable Canadian mushroom kit sellers on the Facebook Official Mycology & Botany Classifieds page though, if you are interested in a mushroom growing kit.

wayne fajkus wrote:Welcome. So if i bought a shitake kit, what is the rundown on how to grow them? Im in texas if that helps. Ive innoculated logs a couple of times and failed.....



Thank you. I hear you Wayne, I haven't had great luck off of inoculating logs either, so I've focused on indoor growing mostly. Also those wet logs are too danged heavy to wrangle all day. Probably the top three tips for growing from tree logs would be 1) keep the log of the ground or possibly on a clean sand layer, 2) if you're going to water your logs, SOAK them under a sprinkler for hours and hours, because frequently getting them wet for 30 minutes just soaks the bark and nurtures contaminants, and 3) keep the direct sun off of them.

Shiitake:
Store at 60-80 degrees F
indirect sunlit room or darkness for colonization
45-60 days from inoculation date, kit is fully colonized and covered in fungus
Give it 3-4 months to fully digest and store nutrition from the substrate, before it's ready to fruit - shiitake is a little bit of a slower grower due to this trait
Fungus develops a brownish skin over 25% or more of surface - top of bag is opened and placed back on top of the block as a humidity tent, skin develops further and the brown warty lumps pop out as mushrooms
I generally place my shiitake blocks outside after the first fruiting - near other vegetation, to keep a humid microclimate. When it's between 50-80 degrees and damp out, I have some that are still popping out mushrooms 2 years later.
Fresh shiitake are amazing, and fresh shiitake grown from a block in an outdoor environment does some magic to them, giving them a powerful, pungent flavor rivaling that of a truffle.
 
Posts: 629
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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Hi Roberto and welcome.

Looks like a great endeavor! This year I've been experimenting with incorporating oyster mushrooms into outdoor sheet mulch. I've been learning a lot. I also found a ready supply of people wanting to trade the mushrooms for veges, honey, plants etc so it's turned into a really great way to develop a trading community. I never considered that growing mushrooms would provide me with all the cucumbers I can eat!

I have a question about your morel kits. I was under the impression that it was only very recently that the process of cultivating them artificially was worked out and it's a trade secret. Do your morel kits actually fruit?
 
Patrick Bales
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Nick Kitchener wrote:I have a question about your morel kits. I was under the impression that it was only very recently that the process of cultivating them artificially was worked out and it's a trade secret. Do your morel kits actually fruit?



Hi Nick, I just planted my morel kit (m. importuna) for the first time this spring, and I don't have results yet (hence the conspicuous absence of morel mushroom photos). Making mushroom substrate itself ("the kit") isn't rocket science and can be used for many species, indoors or out. Most fruiting mushroom species will spawn out on hardwood and grain. Once the sterilized kit is prepared, introduce fungus carefully and allow to grow out in an axenic environment, inside the sealed bag. It's the planting technique that is key for morels, also maintaining proper moisture level after the spawn is planted. The technique I used in the spring is very similar to Tradd Cotter's method from his book Organic Mushroom Farming & Mycoremediation, building a 2x8x1 deep layered trench with wood pellets and a little wheat bran as the food source. I'm getting ready to try a liquid slurry method as well, in a different part of the yard.

The method of cultivation I'm going with is basically wild cultivation, starting with good, clean mushroom spawn and partnering with nature, and there's no performance guarantee with this type of product. YouTube has many examples of folks doing this from scratch with varying degrees of success - my pitch is that "for only $49.95 now you can do this too!" with a huge batch of nice morel spawn.  I don't produce morel mushrooms commercially nor do I apply other folks' patents in a commercial process - but those techniques can be emulated by the home grower on a small plot (actually my last blog post was on that topic). I stand on the shoulders of giants and reach for the sky.
 
wayne fajkus
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Alright Patrick, I bit. Order placed. Do your thing.
 
Patrick Bales
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wayne fajkus wrote:Alright Patrick, I bit. Order placed. Do your thing.



Thank you Wayne, I sincerely appreciate your business. I will prepare your order for shipping.
 
wayne fajkus
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K. Thanks. I'd rather get it after wednesday of next week vs sooner
 
wayne fajkus
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The kits are doing very well. The oyster is almost all white.

Do you make a smaller kit? I thnk the volume will overwhelm me.
 
Patrick Bales
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That's great Wayne, I'm glad to hear it's going well. Sure, I have smaller kits that I just rolled out actually. The smaller kits weigh 3 pounds each, and will each put out up to 1.5 pounds of mushrooms or more. The big kits wil produce 4 pounds or more each. They're all listed at mushroommanofpeotone.com

The best way to store excess mushrooms that I've found is to saute them all in a pan, and then freeze them. Freezing RAW mushrooms will affect their texture negatively, but if you cook them well first, they freeze up just great. I like to let my kits grow until they fill up the sealed bag all on their own (puffs up like a pillow) and then open it to get the fluffy mushroom mass out (everything above the block) and fry that - the texture gets a nice crispy bite.
 
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Looks good man,

Have you checked out What the Fungus? They have some good youtube videos that might help
 
wayne fajkus
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Patrick, one of the boxes was punctured in shipping. I put tape over it and called it good. There are 2 moldy black spots under the tape.  Is this a concern?
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Patrick Bales
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That's not good, it's like "spots on your apple", and I will replace your kit. You can keep the kit you have, strip the bag off, and place it outside in the shade in a humid spot. It may produce its full capacity of mushrooms or less. The mushrooms it produces should be fine for consumption but avoid any that share the color of the contamination. I'll ship a replacement kit out this week.

Please give me a shout directly at my email address mushroommanofpeotone@gmail.com, or message me via my Etsy page with any additional concerns Wayne - thank you.
 
wayne fajkus
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Can i dump it in  bowl and keep it inside? Dont send a new one. If this produces, its fine. it was a shipping issue.. I think this will still be a lot of mushrooms
 
Patrick Bales
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Wayne, I'll contact you via Etsy to discuss.   :)
 
pollinator
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Hi Patrick, nice to meet you, I will be looking you up hopefully next year. I've got to find a spot that I think the black morels might like here, they are our favorite! (Our foraging spot for them is dying out) I like that on your site you list the type of morel kit you offer. I've seen other places that have kits, but many don't specify, and for that reason, they did not get our business. Welcome, and I look forward to your posts, Kind regards, Dee
 
Patrick Bales
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Thanks Dee, it's nice to meet you too.  :)
 
pollinator
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Patrick - I freeze raw mushrooms all the time with no major texture issues. I freeze primarily beech and oyster. Are there specific mushrooms you have issues with or maybe how you use them is more relevant? Just curious.
 
Patrick Bales
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I get most of my food prep knowledge from my wife, who is a certified hot foods chef. She doesn't care for the soft texture of fresh mushrooms that have been frozen, then thawed. I've read that the slow freezing process bursts cell wells and affects the texture - they're probably well prepared to make a tincture, this way. I'm not sure which mushrooms she has tested, freezing from a raw state. She's kind of picky and I'm very married so we cook then freeze.   ;)

I have never personally taken a raw mushroom, frozen it, thawed it, cooked it, eaten it. Food textures are a matter of subjective opinion, I think, up until the head chef says do it over.
 
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