Thursday, August 13, 2015
The Mushroom Farm
In the cold-and-humid room, ceiling pipes dripping chilly condensation, the mycelia bear fruit: oyster and shiitake mushrooms. Shiitakes are on shelving. Standing in columns are the oyster mushrooms, pictured, growing out of pinpricks in the bags, multiplying dementedly. Imagine a 20x40-foot room full of mushrooms.
They're harvested here. The fourth room is for packaging.
How to learn to grow mushrooms on this scale? The owner cheerfully answered, "Failure." Any grower must experiment dozens or even hundreds of times and waste tons of materials before he gets mushrooms -- shiitakes, especially, are very difficult to grow. I personally asked him, "Do you like cooking and eating mushrooms?" He said yes, but if he had a pound of mushrooms he'd rather sell them than eat them. This eye-opening tour was arranged by the Missouri Mycological Society.