Magic Mushrooms

| 11/17/2013 10:52:00 PM

Tags: White Button Mushrooms, Mushroom Kits, Sheila Julson,

Sheila JulsonNo, not those kind. I’m talking about your tasty - and legal, non-hallucinogenic - standard White Button mushroom variety that can be savored in soups, salads, pizzas, and casseroles. I can also say magical, because the growing process is quite engaging.

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Eric Rose, owner of River Valley Ranch & Kitchens, in Burlington, Wis. The farm specializes in mushrooms, not only White Button but also varieties such as Portabella, Crimini, Oyster, and Shiitake.

Until then, I was unsure of how mushrooms were grown. I was intrigued to see that they are grown year-round in cool, dim growing houses that are ventilated and temperature-controlled. As we walked in, Portabella and Crimini mushroom’s poked their domed tops out from a combination of 80-percent compost and a mixture of peat moss and limestone.

And the best part was when he told me that River Valley Ranch sells home growing kits. I could grow mushrooms right in my basement!

I picked up a White Button mushroom kit. There were two bags, one with compost and mycelium (a thread-like vegetative part of a fungus), and one with casing soil. I prepared the compost and soil per enclosed instructions. Everything was done right in the box; easy-peasy and very little mess.

11/26/2013 10:16:56 PM

Here is a link to River Valley Ranch & Kitchens, the farm and market that offers mushroom kits like I have: I've also perused this site, but I haven't ordered from them yet: Some small and locally-owned garden centers also have mushroom kits. Good luck with your mushroom kit! The process is quite intriguing.

11/26/2013 10:38:09 AM

Mary from Old Dog, New Tricks, I have been doing many firsts and perhaps mushrooms should be my next! They seem so magical and intriguing - a complete unknown to me. Larry isn't fond of them, but I'm sure he would still like to watch it happen. Where would I get a starter kit similar to yours?

11/25/2013 9:57:42 PM

Oh, morel mushrooms! I've only had the opportunity to try those once, and the flavor was very rich and meaty; a perfect substitute for we vegetarians. As for indoor growing, I'm getting my window herb garden together, and I have organic seeds from Botanical Interests, Inc. Be sure to let us know if you are successful growing greens indoors.

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