Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"Foraging" for Mushrooms in your own backyard Part I


Last Friday the autumnal equinox led us out of summer and into the fall, a time that I generally find myself reflecting on the past 12 months and projecting what I want for the next 12 ahead.  For me, the beginning of fall is more of a yearend than December 31, with the summer's close feeling like the end of a chapter in my life.  All the winter planning and summer fun come to a culmination here in the fall.  School starts again, people come back to a more full time schedule at their office jobs, even the media industry reigns in their "summer fridays" (yes, this really exists).  There is a sense of completion and review as everyone discusses how they just spent their warm summer days, what went right and what they would look forward to changing for next year.  Completing my first summer season on a farm, I can see a natural connection between my fall feelings and those of the plants I am working with.  Although this is a time of completion, it is not a time of sadness longing for more summer days, instead it is a time of great celebration.  Winter planning led to spring seeding into summer growing and harvest all culminating here in fall where the full harvest can be enjoyed.  In my opinion, early fall is the best season for food.  The diversity of flavors is incredible and delicious.  Summer tomatoes, peppers and potatoes finally meet fall squash, kale and mushrooms.  All the summer plants are pushing out their last fruits and at the same time all the fall and winter crops are starting to show up.  A great celebration where all of the plant families come together.  Almost 5 months to the date, these amazing...

Oyster mushrooms have popped out almost on cue.

Back in April, the Captain taught us how to inoculate fallen logs with Oyster and Shiitake mushrooms. Some extremely simple and low maintenance techniques that are perfect for all those who feel they don't have enough light or space to grow many plants.  Even if all you have is a fire escape or just a windowsill, these nutrient dense mushrooms can flourish for years.

They love dark and moist climates which shouldn't be too hard to find behind a house or even an apartment.

Now that we've started to harvest these beautiful Oyster mushrooms, it's time to get in the kitchen and put them to good use.

As cliche as it may sound, it's truly amazing to me how fast the summer came and went.  From making the jump from finance to farming to learning and experiencing as much as I could, there was so much going on both mentally and physically on the farm I realize I let many of these beautiful summer nights pass me by and my only advice is to enjoy the last few weeks of warmth and calm.  We never know what's around the corner so why not lock in a few more beautiful sunsets, camping trips, outdoor concerts, farmers' market visits or maybe just a few deep breathes outside.  


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