Surprised by: Oyster Mushrooms!

by Caroline on April 30, 2012

Not long after Zac and I inoculated that oak log with Oyster and Shiitake spores, a good friend of ours wrote to torment me.

She said that her CSA teams up with a local mushroom farm, and that, lately, she’d been enjoying the best fresh mushrooms.

And then, because she’s actually a really nice person and the sort of wonderful friend who does things like that, she sent us an Oyster Mushroom Mini-Farm in the mail. This is basically a block of super-inoculated mushroom-growing substrate (hay? sawdust? coffee grounds?) that’s guaranteed to grow.

So, we set up our mushroom farm in the corner of our garage, and more or less forgot about it.

This gently misty morning, we inspected the block of substrate, and found an exceptionally fine-looking crop of Pleurotus ostreatus.

Isn’t it gorgeous?

In other good news, after this harvest, we can expect two or three more flushes of mushrooms before the farm stops producing (I think it dries out? Or maybe the mycelium needs more substrate to feast on? Any mushroom experts? Is there a way to make sure our mushroom farm lives on?)

What I do know is that these colors, textures, and smells are completely entrancing, subtle, and fascinating.

I could have photographed them in different arrangements all morning– and, who knows, maybe mushroom arranging is the next hip thing.

For dinner, I’m thinking of miso soup, radishes shaved to translucent pink thinness, and freshly dug spring onions.

May your Monday be just a subtly-shaded and surprising, friends.

{ 10 comments }

1 Amy April 30, 2012 at 11:54 am

They look yummy!

2 Fran Malone April 30, 2012 at 12:15 pm

WOW I have always wanted to try that and I may be getting braver!

3 Jane from Maryland April 30, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Beautiful! Would make an interesting scarf pattern…

4 Hilary April 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Oyster mushrooms are soooo yummy!! One of the things I miss about living on the side of Mt. Etna in Sicily – the abundance of wild mushrooms of several varieties!!

5 Leah April 30, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Mmmm, I’m jealous of your dinner. I may have to get one of those mushroom mini-farms myself!

6 Chickadeeworkshop aka White Feather April 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Way cool! What beautiful work of art they are!

7 EightPondFarm April 30, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Your oysters are beautiful! They grow wild here on our farm, and we harvested some just last night for dinner: a light wild garlic and shallot cream sauce, rough chopped oyster mushrooms and pappardelle. When we spotted the surprise find near the bulls’ pasture, we went up to look at the usual spot on the trunk of a tree in the woods — but those were shriveled up and already past — you only get a day or so to grab ‘em at their best. They will be back I know, since we have harvested there in all seasons for years now. I am not sure what the tree farm will do, but you can find instructions on the interwebz for extending the mycelium and inoculating coffee grounds, which oysters love. Yum. They are outstanding in white lasagna, too. I am hungry again.

Marge Jackson
Hermann MO

8 branchhomestead April 30, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Fabulous! I can almost smell them! Love to all of you…really missing you all!

9 M J April 30, 2012 at 11:35 pm

I see a yarn colorway coming.

10 Seanna Lea May 1, 2012 at 9:31 am

I have some Japanese style pickled radishes. If you were closer I would offer them up for the feast!

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