Some of our mushroom logs fruit all on their own, when they feel like it. They can’t be forced. All they need is time and the right temperature. These are our oysters, butterscotch (nameko), lion’s mane and some of our shiitake.
But most of our shiitake can be encouraged (force fruited) by dropping them in a tank of cold water. This “shocks” the mushroom organism (mycelium) and causes it to pop out lots of mushrooms really fast.
For the last 8 years, Jeremy’s mushroom soaking tanks have been big metal stock tanks. He’d go through the shade structure and load up some logs – first in a small hand cart where he could move five or six logs at a time, then more recently in the tiny trailer on our lawn tractor where he could move 10 or 15 at a time. So, load up some logs, one at a time, into the cart or trailer. Move the cart or trailer over to the stock tanks that are full of water. Move the logs, one at a time, into the stock tanks. Repeat until the tanks are full then weigh the logs down with random chunks of concrete block to make sure the logs are submerged. Wait 24 hours. Take the logs out, one at a time, and transport them to the fruiting area. After fruiting is done a few days later, load up the logs in that same cart or small trailer, and take them back, a small batch at a time, to the shade structure.
This method was fine for a smaller operation, but as Jeremy has been soaking more and more logs at a time he’s had to get more stock tanks.
And moving all those logs by hand… something had to be done about this! Jeremy has been dreaming for a year or two about new in-ground fruiting tanks. This spring the hole was dug for them and Stuntz Concrete built the tanks.
He had Minnesota Implement build him several “cages” for the mushroom logs. At least 40 logs can be carried in each cage, and then our trusty skid steer picks up the cage and drives it over to the tanks.
Voila! Much faster to soak the logs, and not as much individual handling. Well, it will be much faster once everyone gets the hang of the new system!