Last fall, seeing adorable shiitake mushrooms sprouting from logs in the woods behind my friend Rachael’s house, I knew I wanted some too. I took a couple of mycology courses in college and have always had a special love for fungi, as long as I don’t have to eat it. Knowing that I don’t eat mushrooms, Rachael laughed at me when I told her that I wanted to grow some. I explained to her that I wanted to take photos of them. This makes sense, right? And really, the whole process intrigued me. I like to grow things, and this was new. So, I jumped in on a mushroom plug spawn order with Rachael and a couple others. I chose oysters and shiitakes. Shiitakes because they are cute and oysters because they are mild flavored and I thought I might be able to eat them.
In February, I drilled and plugged about 10 poplar logs. The process was really fun and my kids were all able to help, even Mabel. I drilled the holes and then a child would hammer in the inoculated plugs. After all the logs were plugged I added a thin coat of wax over each peg, presumably to keep other fungi from invading the logs. We moved them all to a shady spot at the edge of the woods and forgot about them for the most part over the summer. But as soon as the fall rains came I started checking my logs. So far, there have been a handful of shiitakes, which my kids ate sautéed in butter. There have been even more oysters, and my kids like those too. I fully intended to make myself eat them again and again until I started to like them, but after a go with some sautéed oysters, I am instead going to remain 5 years old when it comes to eating mushrooms. I don’t like to eat them. I think they are gross as food, but I love to study and photograph them, and my kids like to eat them! If you are interested in learning more or doing this yourself, we ordered our supplies from Field & Forest Products. They have all the information you need on their site and if you can find friends to order with you will save money! (This is not a sponsored post, I’m just letting you know where I bought my supplies.)
Sometime last year, around the time we started plugging all those logs, Seth presented me with a trio of hand turned wooden mushrooms. (The photo I shared of them was one of the most liked ever on my Instagram page!) He ended up making quite a few on the lathe over the following months. They were a huge hit with local friends and he ended up selling some at our local farmer’s market as well. He has a few left and they are in his shop now!
Also, I am updating my shop on Monday, November 25th at 4 p.m. ET. My last batch of play silks for the year will be available along with scarves and goat’s milk soap. I have one gorgeous deep blue-green baby swaddle available as well.
I hope you all have a great week and Happy Thanksgiving to my U.S. friends!
p.s. After “planting” all those mushrooms, I discovered wild oyster mushrooms growing on a log in the woods behind our house. I’m not tasting them.