A lot has been going on the last week or two at the farm. We finished moving all the newly inoculated logs out of the fruiting house. They are enjoying their summer home in the sun-dappled woods.
Even though the weather is still a little bit weird, we decided to start force-fruiting so the first batches were soaked and set up in the fruiting tunnel. This year we’re trying something new. The extra rack above the fruiting racks is to hold the fruiting blanket, instead of having the blanket directly on the logs. The blanket keeps moisture and humidity in for the first couple days until the logs start “pinning” – that is, when the mushrooms start to grow. We can’t wait to get our first big flush of mushrooms!
We’re also experimenting with a few in-ground mushrooms this year – Almond Agaricus, Bluefoot, Blewits, and Winecaps. We grew Winecaps at our house in Minneapolis way back in the day, but it wasn’t practical to have them at any of the locations our farm has been at over the years. With our own property, we can do whatever we want (WHATEVER WE WANT! =) ), so we’re going to give them a try again.
We’ve eaten Almond Agaricus, which smells and tastes like almonds, but we’ve never grown it. We picked a nice sunny spot on the edge our field and Andy (farm employee), did an epic job of tilling it up, getting rid of weeds and grass. Jeremy dumped in a bunch of mushroom compost and mixed the spawn in with that and then covered the whole bed over with straw. If all goes well we should be seeing these mushrooms popping up in a month or two – in plenty of time for folks to get some at the farmers market!
The Blewits and Bluefoots (Bluefeet?) like more shade. We picked a shady spot in the yard near the house and Andy and Ashley (our other farm employee) laid down cardboard (for weed control) and they’ve been dumping in compost, leaves, and wood chips. We’ll probably inoculate these shady patches over the weekend and cover them with straw mulch. These varieties take much longer to fruit so we probably won’t get any till next spring. We’ll all have to be patient!