If you've ever wondered what it REALLY looks like behind the scenes here, come and visit us this Saturday, July 15th, between 10am and 4pm for a farm tour! We're part of the 2023 Apple River Farm Tour - there are 9 farms you can visit and they have a variety of different things going on. One of them will even have cinnamon rolls and breakfast burritos. In addition to learning about log grown mushrooms and mushroom farming, you can learn about bees and beehives and tapping trees for maple syrup; see cows, pigs, chickens; and see lots of veggies, flowers, fruit, and orchards! Bring your sturdy walking shoes, a sun hat, bug spray, and a cooler because there will be plenty of farm products to purchase. The link above takes you to the info on another farm's site (I just haven't been organized enough to post all the info on our site), with addresses and a Google map with all the sites so you can plan your own tour. We hope to see some of you on Saturday!
So, what have we been up to in the last month? Growing mushrooms of course!
We started force-fruiting about three weeks ago. We load up about 240 logs into these heavy duty metal racks and then drop them into this very deep tank of very cold water. This "shocks" the mycelium into growing lots of shiitake.
The next day we pull the logs out, place them in the high tunnel, then cover them with heavy felt blankets. This helps them to warm up and keeps the humidity in.
After a little while, depending on the temperatures outside, the mushrooms start "pinning," which means growing tiny little mushrooms. That's when we pull the blankets off. Mushrooms produce carbon dioxide and if it builds up under the blanks the mushrooms tend to get really long stems and not much cap.
We continue to have RIDICULOUS weather that has really been affecting growing. It has been downright cold at night for the last week or so, which slows them down. It also continues to be dry and windy. Climate change friends... the most obvious effects are in the massive flooding, heat waves, powerful storms, raging fires, etc that are plaguing us more and more every year. But it affects our food system too and unfortunately people have become so disconnected from how food is grown I don't think a lot of people realize how difficult it's getting for farmers. Will all food need to be grown indoors someday?
Well, that soapbox came out of nowhere! Moving along... A few weeks ago we did discover more mushrooms growing outside - hooray!
In the midst of all the work, we took a half day off to celebrate Jeremy's birthday with the annual log cake!
Hopefully next month we'll have an update on the new building - no concrete floor yet, but hopefully we'll have one soon!
Gus & Spore
Gus is sometimes a bit of a copycat - he has to be where Spore is, doing what Spore is doing.
Scratching the logs in the firewood pile:
And drinking water out of the bird bath:
These pictures were taken less than 2 weeks apart. It's amazing how the angle makes one of them look so much smaller or larger than the other!