On the Farm

On the Farm

Forest mushrooms have been cultivated for over a thousand years. The traditional method, still used by some, is to drill a hole in a log, fill it with some mushroom mycelium, seal the hole and wait…and wait.

Gourmet Mushrooms uses a modern technique that is much faster but still uses the mushrooms’ natural food: wood – in this case sawdust.

The sawdust substrate is packed into bottles are filled with sawdust. Then the bottles are sterilized in a giant autoclave.

After sterilization a starter culture (spawn) is added, much the same as you make more yogurt from yogurt, or make a new batch of sourdough bread from sour starter or mother.

The photo above shows bottles with white mycelium at the top and brown sawdust at the bottom. There are over 600,000 bottles like these at the farm at any one time. Our job is to provide the mushrooms just the right conditions to thrive. When the time is right we move the bottles from the incubating room above, where they are stacked on top of each other, to harvest rooms where temperatures are lower and humidity is higher. These conditions are perfect to grow great mushrooms.

A harvester shows off Trumpet Royale mushrooms ready to harvest. Over 60,000 bottles are hand-harvested every week.