If you go to the store to buy mushrooms, it is very likely they were grown commercially indoors. Luckily for us in the Pacific Northwest, conditions are just right to grow mushrooms outdoors, which produces much higher quality mushrooms. Fun fact: Shiitake mushrooms grown outdoors have double the amount of health promoting polysaccharides, the most abundant carbohydrate in food.
I am trying my hand at growing mushrooms for cultivation, also known as fungiculture. Specifically, I’m growing shiitake and oyster mushrooms, which are supposedly easy to grow for novices like me. I started by harvesting a few red alder trees. This served two purposes. One, it opened up the view of the Olympic Mountain Range on our Viewpoint Loop Trail; and two, it provided the perfect medium to grow mushrooms.
Next, I drilled holes in the logs to be filled with mushroom spawn, which are wooden dowels inoculated with the fungus’ mycelium, or vegetative part. This process is basically starting the mushroom colonization in the log, just like planting tree seedlings in an eventual forest.
I finished by waxing the holes to retain moisture and prevent contamination from other fungi. All I have to do now is sit back and let the fungus do its thing, and hopefully when you come stay with us at Alderbrook next year, there will be yummy edible mushrooms for us to harvest. Until then, the forest will provide plenty of wild mushrooms to forage.
We ask that you please leave the mushrooms you find at Alderbrook Resort and Spa, and remember to only take 10% or less of what you find elsewhere so the fungi can sustain their population.
Not all mushrooms are edible. Some are very poisonous. Please use a high level of caution when harvesting wild mushrooms and consult an expert if you are unsure.