Mushrooms Mushrooming

The message from Paul Stamets' book, Mycelium Running, is that mushrooms can help save the world.  They do this, in part, by helping to recycle organic material, often in the form of wood.  That would make the gentleman we met today at the farmers market a real hero.  As the main local supplier of gourmet mushrooms, Mr. Hanners vouches to maintain 10,000 mushroom logs on his farm in central Calvert County.  He has been raising mushrooms for 40 years and seems to have an untiring passion for all things mushroom.  In contrast, I have managed to inoculate 25 or so logs in this, my first year of growing mushrooms.

Chespeake's Bounty is also planning to begin mushrooming on a commercial scale.  At the Mother Earth News Fair last month, the number of people taking an interest in the mushroom growing vendors and lectures was surprisingly large.  Mr. Hanners also told us about the excellent potential of finding morel mushrooms in our area - a quest that I had abandoned.

In addition to logs, I have been growing mushrooms on wood chips and plan to begin growing some oyster mushrooms indoors on spent coffee grounds and next year some Almond Agaricus mushrooms on compost.  Aside from the health benefits of eating various mushrooms, I expect my gardens to benefit from the residue left behind by the extra abundance of mushrooms in our domain.

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