Mushrooms at Home and in the Wild!
In our attempts to become more self-sufficient, we have acquired a number of books and other reference materials on mushroom gathering. We love mushrooms but, frankly, gathering them in the wild scares the shit out of me. I’ve eaten one or two without harm and we’ve gathered many more to subject to the various spore print and other tests. To our surprise, many yummy looking mushrooms turned out to be members of the Deathcap (Amanita) variety. Because of this, I have become respectfully cautious of this decidedly delicious but potentially deadly bounty of nature.
Even though our wild mushroom attempts have been met by failure driven by caution, we have not given up. I’d still like to get smarter and become more well informed. To this end, I stopped by the Anacortes Farmer’s Market a week or two ago and ran into a booth with mushroom kits. The kits offered were for Oyster mushrooms, Shitake mushrooms, and Wine Cap mushrooms. It ocured to me that being able to grow these mushrooms in my house and see what they looked like in their various stages of developement, would be priceless.
Home Gown Mushrooms
For about $15.00, I bought an Oyster Mushroom kit from Cacscadia Mushrooms, a local organic producer. We’ve followed instructions (mostly) and now have a beautiful growth of mushrooms in our back room. Besides the obvious benefits of having mushroom for an Oyster mushroom stir fry, we also now know what to look for in the wild. Our domestic mushrooms are supposed to grow for two or three months. We can then take the mycelium (mushroom spore) and seed it in our yard or in the wild where we can find it later. Win – Win!
Shitake, Wine Cap & Other Mushroom Projects
Being happy with our results so far, I’ve ordered both the Shitake an Wine Cap kits. Our plan is to not only grow them here at home, but to seed them in favorable wild areas where we can look for them in the years to come. There is always the risk that wild spore can invade the areas we seed, so good identification is still needed. We hope that having grown them at home and being able to see their development, will better prepare us for finding and safely identifying them in the wild.