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Mushrooms Right from Your Farm
All mushrooms are grown in the most natural manner possible. Firelight Heritage Farms has never been so arrogant as to assume that if nature can do it that we can do it better, rather, we study nature, so that when we have to grow things indoors, we can mimic the way nature does it.
That means we don't grow ANYTHING in a sterile environment (it is a myth that you can anyway, I mean, you can't sterilize living things, they don't STAY sterile after being exposed to room air, and means that any minor contaminations can get out of control very easily). Nature includes a balance of bacteria and fungus, which causes no harm, and which is generally more beneficial than harmful. This produces larger and healthier crops, and prevents the rampant growth of harmful bacterial contaminations which have no natural controls to stop them.
Mushroom spawn, kits, and logs are produced as close as possible to the way they would be in the wild, with reasonable precautions against competitive fungi or destructive bacteria. They are periodically inspected for harmful contaminants.
You'll notice that we don't offer sawdust substrate kits, nor do we grow mushrooms in coffee grounds or toilet paper. Our mushroom spawn is run in natural media, such as solid wood logs, real manure compost, forest leaf mold, pine litter, and other substrates which the fungi would normally grow in. Just because we CAN grow it in other substances, doesn't mean we SHOULD.
Log kits last longer than sawdust kits as well, and compost kits can be easily rejuvenated to produce indefinitely. Log kits can be re-propagated onto new logs, so you won't have to buy another of those either! We'd like you to get maximum productive value from anything you buy from us.
You'll find instructions on this site that work with all of our spawn and mushroom kits for propagating mushrooms indefinitely. You won't have to buy another thing from us if you don't want to. You may wish to purchase started logs or kits in the interest of saving time but you don't have to. If you choose to propagate your own mushroom spawn from now on, you'll receive friendly instructions for doing so, and nowhere do we tell you that you need an autoclave or to sterilize anything! (And we'll tell you why you don't have to.)
If you prefer the most natural foods possible, grown and prepared using traditional methods which keep the maximum nutritional value and without chemical contamination, you'll love growing mushrooms naturally.
Growing mushrooms is done for many reasons. Some people enjoy the satisfaction of producing them instead of buying them. If you are wise, you can raise them more cheaply than you can buy them, and you can keep them going indefinitely.
You can also control the way in which they are raised. You can ensure that they are not treated with chemicals, washed in chlorine, or exposed to other nasty contaminants that might cause problems for you if you have sensitivities.
And of course, you can select just the right mushrooms, for just the dish you have in mind.
But mostly, because growing things gives you a sense of accomplishment that nothing else does. It is especially nice when you know that you won't have to pay for mushrooms again unless you want to. They are a good source of protein and many needed nutrients, so they'll help you be more self-sufficient even if you are enduring difficult economic times.
They take very little space in most cases, so they can be grown even when you don't have room for a garden in your yard. You can even grow them when you have been forbidden to have any other type of garden. Culture is fairly clean and portable, so you don't even have to have a dedicated spot for it.
Mushrooms can be very expensive, and even one mushroom kit can pay for itself on the first fruiting. If you are having trouble finding a reliable supply of a rarer type of mushroom, growing it yourself means you'll never be held hostage to the local store for price or poor quality ever again.
You can also prepare fabulous gifts for your friends and family. Homemade mushroom kits, dried mushrooms, frozen stuffed mushrooms, specialized seasonings packed in a decorative bottle, or special homemade mushroom mixes packed in a nice jar or bag.
Once you have a mushroom kit working for you, you have the ability to expand it into as large a production as you want. You can share with family or friends, or earn from the sale of mushrooms or mushroom spawn or kits. Once you get started, you have choices.
Be warned though. Some people seem to have a predisposition to becoming addicted to the culture of mushrooms. We think it is a healthy addiction!
Anymore, it seems that the mere mention of medicinal substances that are not dispensed by a doctor is cause for criminal charges. The myth has been perpetuated that herbs are dangerous, and that anything that has any kind of health benefit has to be screened by scientists and approved by the FDA before you are allowed to suggest that it might have benefit. Anything that CAN be proven to have a benefit is rushed off to be dissected, extracted, concentrated and adulterated, and the original food item is quickly taken out of circulation and banned from being sold. After all, if it DOES help an illness, you can't possibly trust people who do not have a medical degree to use it - even if it is a food they've been eating all their lives (unless of course it is some kind of industrial food production waste product like Oat Bran that the grain industry wants to shove into a price increase - in that case, they'll devise "supportive evidence" to show what a good idea eating it is, when in fact the testing showed that whole oats helped, not that tossing oat bran into your bread was a magic answer). I am, admittedly, a bit of a cynic.
Historically, it was known that pretty much all foods had some kind of benefit. Not because they had any magical properties or special medical value, but simply because they were foods that helped encourage the body to heal or to stay well. Chicken soup for recovering from the flu, or when you had a cold. No magic there, nothing suspicious, just good nourishment that was easy to digest, and that provided the nutrients that people who had just been ill were most likely to be low on. Of course, nobody analyzed that, they just knew that chicken soup felt better when you were recovering than steak and potatoes. When scientists did finally analyze that (almost certainly at the behest of the chicken soup industry - studying no doubt, homemade chicken soup, in an effort to promote the canned soup industry), they found that there is valid reason to suppose that chicken soup may aid in recovery from colds, flus, and stomach bugs. But then, Grandma knew that all along, only she didn't need a canned soup company to tell her so, or to provide the soup in question. She knew because her mother fed her soup when she was sick, and taught her how to make it so she could care for her own family.
People used to eat mushrooms. They gathered them in the wild, and taught their children how to do so. They ate them because they were "free food", easily gathered when one was out and about, often when doing other things such as gathering berries or firewood. Mushrooms sold at the markets were also relatively inexpensive, gathered by peasants who needed some extra cash, and sold direct to the customer, without a middle man taking the majority of the profits.
They knew that some mushrooms helped certain conditions. Mushrooms were gifts of God, like herbs and berries and roots, to be used with wisdom and thanksgiving, and which could help when one needed to treat a certain illness. Of course, there was a lot of folktale mixed in with the genuine pearls of wisdom, but it was accepted that mushrooms could have powerful healing capacity when used properly.
Mushrooms in general (with the exception of the "white pretender", the commercial White Button Mushroom - incidentally a manmade food) have a range of benefits, to one degree or another. Most edible ones help with healing skin, avoiding problems such as ovarian cysts (and PCOS), or uterine fibroids. They also helps your body to alleviate damage done by chemicals to your intestines, circulatory system, pulmonary system, and skin. Most mushrooms, to one degree or another, possess these benefits. Many have other benefits as well, from small to great.
It isn't that they have "pharmacologically active" components, so much as that they have nutrients in an absorbable form, which much of the food which we eat is lacking. They do these things for us because they provide the nutritional support for that to happen. Most of the food we eat is chemically embalmed or destroyed completely by heat. Mushrooms are often eaten fresh or prepared fresh, or used dried, both methods preserving the active elements which support good health.
Some do have amazing capacity to heal or mitigate the various conditions that beset us in life.
So do other healthy foods and herbs. Good, whole, clean foods, all have the capacity to heal the body in one way or another. I think that it is not mushrooms particularly that we need to heal our ailing populations, but merely clean and fresh food, enjoyed with the bran on, skin intact, germ in place, fat balanced, and yolks in. When we denude our food, castrate and decapitate the wholesome grains and vegetables, sterilize out all the healthy probiotics, and then chemify everything with poisons, it is no wonder that food now hurts instead of healing us.
Fresh food contains elements that scientists cannot even begin to analyze. They gather around their microscopes, identify the most visible elements of nutrition, and completely ignore the less visible ones. They are the micronutrients and compounds which are responsible for not just keeping us alive, but for regulating the body so that things stay in balance. They help us maintain healthy weight, keep from having chronic headaches, reduce fatigue and asthma, regulate blood sugar and metabolism, keep our hearts and veins healthy, slow the age related degeneration of the brain, keep the immune system strong in fighting disease while reducing instances of auto-immune illness, and they help our bodies heal and compensate for the damage that the chemical exposures in this world inflict on our bodies.
Good food always does that. Mushrooms do most of what they do simply because they are good food. No magic there. No threat to the medical profession there, unless they are so scared of people getting well that they fear for their job security and WANT more sick people.
Mushrooms are one of the last foods you can buy that is gathered in the wild, and which is frequently sold by small businesses direct to the customer.
One might say that it is more accurate to claim that a mushroom a day keeps the doctor away than to claim the same for apples. And that still isn't strictly true - you'll still probably need the occasional visit for serious illness. But a mushroom a day might just keep you from having to carry a day planner to schedule your medical appointments.
When we note at the bottom of the page something that a mushroom might be good for, we are basing that on research, historical evidence, traditional usage, and logical conclusions based on our knowledge of that particular mushroom and its nutritional make-up. But don't take our word for it - do your own research.
We only carry mushrooms that are considered to be clearly edible. If we find reports of allergic reactions being more common, we may carry it and post a warning. If there are confusing stories about people potentially becoming ill from it, with intestinal distress, or other serious after-effects, then we won't carry it, because we believe that there are enough safely edible mushrooms that we don't need to dance on the edge of the knife. In spite of that, you still may have an allergic reaction to a mushroom, or you may have a problem because of other factors in your body that are different than the general public. Again, do your own research and don't take our word for it.
And by all means, if you have a serious medical condition that might be negatively influenced by consumption of a mushroom that is classed as edible, please check with your doctor.
One of the most frequent contacts we receive is from people with no experience growing mushrooms, who ask us about growing Porcini, Chanterelles, and Morels. We get this request so often, from people who do not know what the word "mycorrhizal" means, that we have chosen to put a reply to them here.
1. The most amazing wild mushrooms are mychorrhizal. This means they form a symbiotic relationship with trees, and sometimes have other dependencies as well, for a specific forest environment. You can't easily box them up and tote them into your livingroom to enjoy fresh mushrooms whenever you want. When we ARE able to produce kits for them, they'll have to include trees, bushes, or other plants, OR, they'll be kits that have to be used outside in a specific type of environment. Mycorrhizals also take a LONG TIME to reach a point of maturity where they will actually fruit.
Translation: Porcini, Chanterelles, and Morels are HARD TO GROW. Truffles are even harder.
2. Start with something simple. The easiest mushrooms to grow are grown on logs or in sawdust kits. We suggest that you start with Oyster Mushrooms. They are pretty much the easiest to do. Buy a kit. Doesn't matter where - you want simple for now. Learn about mycellium, pinning, and fruiting. THEN think about growing something more difficult.
3. There are tons of mushrooms that can be grown on logs, or in compost. Those are the easy ones. You can have a good mushroom business with those, IF you are smart about what you choose for your area, and how you market them.
4. Have fun with it. Yes, you have a lot to learn. But learning this stuff can be fun, so enjoy it!
When you are ready, come back and ask us again about mycorrhizals. Chances are, we'll have something amazing for you then, even if it isn't exactly what you thought it would be.