This year we've added another 300 logs to our mushroom farm in the Hudson Valley. Each log needs to be drilled, then filled with mushroom spawn and closed up with wax to keep pests away. The vast majority of our oak logs are filled with shiitake spawn; we also continue to experiment and add other varieties including chestnut and oyster mushrooms. We used maple logs for the oyster and chestnuts. Shiitake mushrooms are the only outdoor variety of mushrooms that can be force fruited--this allows us to plan for weekly harvests, while other types of mushrooms like oysters, will fruit based on temperature and moisture conditions that we can't control.
We hope you enjoy this short video showing how we inoculate our logs at Hudson Valley Mushrooms.
We are delighted to announce that you can become a mushroom member with Hudson Valley Mushrooms. You can also purchase our mushrooms at two other local farms in the Hudson Valley.
Our 2021 CSA has opened--join us in 2021! We are selling a limited number of mushroom shares for pick up at our farm in Patterson, New York. Starting on June 15, you'll receive freshly harvested log-grown shiitakes each week through the end of September. As a member you'll also receive six beautifully designed recipe cards. All the details and pricing are available right here on our website. Also this year you can purchase our mushrooms at Growing Heart Farm in Pawling and SPACE on Ryder Farm in Brewster. If you are looking for a vegetable share and also want our mushrooms, visit their websites and sign up.
Many farmers slow down in the winter, but they don’t stop. Growing up on a dairy farm, where the work never stops, we still slowed in the winter. At Hudson Valley Mushrooms, we’ve spent our winter planning for our next grow season and taking the time to continue learning.
New York State recently required all sellers of wild mushrooms to be licensed. This winter forest farmer Tamara took the certification course with Mushroom Mountain and became officially licensed. Mushroom Mountain is currently the only place to receive this certification in the country. As part of this certification Hudson Valley Mushrooms plans to offer a wider variety of mushrooms to our CSA members and customers. This winter we’ve also taken many webinars on CSA management and conferences including the Thriving Farmer Summit. We also continue to take part in webinars offered by the Cornell Small Farm Program. Their Specialty Mushroom Project offers free monthly webinars on mushroom growing—we’ve included two of the upcoming events below. Sign up if you can.
In December we marketed and sold our inoculated logs for the holidays. Along with their inoculated log, each customer received a set of our beautifully designed recipe cards and log care instructions. So grateful to all who purchased—please be sure to care for your log and happy fruiting. You can still buy individual logs or for those who are ready to set up their own mushroom operation, we are here to help with our Grow at Home packages.
January has been all about planning for 2021. We’ve ordered our 2021 set of bolts. Our bolts (also known as a log) will mostly consist of oak and will be harvested locally in Putnam County this February—all bolts will be 36 – 40” long and 4” – 8” in diameter. After they are cut, our bolts will rest for a month and we’ll start inoculation in March—more on that soon! We’ve also been planning our CSA and having conversations with other farms to include our shiitakes as an add-on for 2021. We’ll have more details on all this soon.
We know 2020 has been a difficult year for so many--we have all experienced significant change and have adjusted to the new normal. For us, this year also proved to be a year of exploration and growth at our small mushroom farm.
We purchased almost 300 logs in February. We had committed to expanding in 2020 and had made all our plans prior to COVID-19. With these logs staring at us in March and most of our helpers, staying home and social distancing, we knew that we had to inoculate these logs ourselves. We had a few brave volunteers help at the start, and we were truly grateful to them. In all, it took us the entire month of March--every free moment drilling, filling and waxing. At the end of the summer, we added even more logs with another 50 logs of oyster mushrooms. All of these logs will be ready to fruit in 2021--adding more shiitake, lions mane, oyster and olive oysterling mushrooms to Hudson Valley Mushrooms. We included some videos below to show our inoculation.
In June we launched our new CSA! During the summer our CSA members enjoyed 12 weeks of freshly harvested shiitakes. Along with the mushrooms, we also introduced weekly recipes for our members to enjoy--you can find all our recipes right here on our site. We extended our season into the fall, offering a fall CSA to new and existing members. We ended our CSA on September 30 and are looking forward to welcoming members back again in 2021. If you are interested in signing up for next year, tell us now. You can use our 2021 CSA Form to save your space.
This summer we also partnered with SPACE on Ryder Farm to offer their CSA members the option to add on to their weekly shares with our mushrooms. We’re grateful for this partnership and thrilled to collaborate with such a fantastic local farm and nonprofit organization. Our shiitakes were also featured in Pawling Bread Co.’s tarts this summer--truly delicious and fantastic to have our shiitakes highlighted through another local business.
We also made our radio debut on Leonard Lopate at Large on New York City’s WBAI. Our very own forest farmer Demetri Papas was joined by Steve Gabriel of Wellspring Forest Farm and of Cornell Small Farms Program. This hour long interview allowed Hudson Valley Mushrooms to be featured beyond our local audience.
With the end of our season upon us, we are excited to introduce our new Grow at Home packages. We started growing for ourselves in 2015 to expand beyond our vegetable garden. We’ve dedicated the last five years to learning all about log-grown mushrooms and are delighted to share this passion and knowledge with others who may want to grow their own shiitakes. Our packages include inoculated logs that are ready to fruit in 2021, consultation on creating your own laying yard, growing guide and more. You can see details and pricing here.
Hudson Valley Mushrooms was featured on the Friday, September 4 episode of Leonard Lopate at Large on New York City’s WBAI. Our very own forest farmer Demetri Papas was joined by Steve Gabriel of Wellspring Forest Farm and of Cornell Small Farms Program.
During this hour-long program Demetri and Steve speak with Leonard on how to grow mushrooms, what we are doing on our forest farms and fun facts about fungi. You can listen to the episode at https://soundcloud.com/leonard-lopate/demetri-papas-and-steve-gabriel-on-everything-youve-ever-wanted-to-know-about-mushrooms.
Is Hudson Valley Mushrooms a micro farm? I hadn’t ever heard the term until six months and was a bit insulted when asked if we were micro. To understand why I’d be insulted, you must know my history. I grew up in the Midwest on a mid-sized dairy farm—something that exists less and less these days. I had hundreds of acres to explore the woods and fields. And, I had hundreds of animals to care for—cows, goats, rabbits, dog, cats, you name it!
So what is a micro farm? Micro farms use far less land than the average commercial or family farm—typically under five acres and are often located in urban or suburban areas. These farms also often focus on one crop, just like we do. If you ever visit us to pick up mushrooms, don’t let the small facade of our place fool you. We grow our mushrooms outdoors under the canopy of the woods. Located on just under two acres, Hudson Valley Mushrooms is delighted to call itself a micro farm.
Let’s dive deeper into the science behind mushrooms. Mushrooms are the fruiting body of the fungi organism. The balance of the organism lives inside the log (for us it’s the log, but mushrooms grow lots of other places) in a form called mycelium. The mycelium, which look like white cobweb like networks of cells, grow throughout the log and are the balance of the mushroom organism. Mushrooms and the mycelium bodies of mushrooms are some of the largest single organisms on the planet.
We inoculate our logs in the spring. The shiitake mycelium grow throughout the log during the incubation period. For our logs this usually takes from six to twelve months. When the mycelium has extended throughout the log, fruiting begins. And when conditions are right, the mycelium produce fruiting bodies which is the way mushrooms sexually reproduce. The fruiting bodies produce spores which contain all of the necessary materials to form a new fungus.
Different mushrooms have different looking fruiting bodies. Below you can see lions mane, golden oysters and shiitake, all grown by us. Next year, we will also have olive oysterlings—you can see what they look like here.
We are excited for the new grow season and everything that comes next. This year we have a new laying yard with a new water tank to soak the logs, a new rack to hold the logs while they are fruiting and 125 newly inoculated logs from 2019. It takes 6-12 months for the logs to start fruiting after inoculation--so this is their first year and mostly likely their most productive! Knowing we'd have a consistent harvest each week, we started a CSA (community supported agriculture). We're delighted to have filled our spots for the season and each week our members will receive either a half or full share. So, each week we simply need to soak the logs, wait patiently and give the logs some care, then harvest, clean and package. Follow us on social media for weekly updates on possible surplus and the ability to buy each week. You can also find our order form here.
We take the safety of your food seriously and will abide by the following safety protocols.
We were delighted to finish inoculating our logs extra early this year. We've partnered with a neighbor who owns a woodlot that needs to be managed, and we can say that this year's logs are as local as you can possibly get!
We used mostly oak logs for our shiitakes and also added olive oysterling mushrooms. And, we are experimenting with beech trees to grow lions mane. In total, we inoculated more than 250 logs--all of these will be ready in 2021. It takes a full year for the logs to start producing mushrooms--although you can get lucky with early arrivals as early as the fall.
This year was especially difficult to inoculate our logs due to the COVID-19 crisis. Since we started so early in March, we were able to have a few helpers, and we were truly grateful. However, knowing we needed to socially distance ourselves, we mostly worked with just the two of us each weekend to drill, fill and wax! We are excited to see these logs and their mushrooms come to fruition in 2021.
Visit us often to see updates on how log-grown shiitakes come to life at Hudson Valley Mushrooms.