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Mushrooms Right from Your Farm
The second most cultivated mushroom world-wide. Popular for Japanese cuisine. This mushroom is available fresh, dried, and in a variety of specialty packages. Recipes for using it are also widely available.
Relatively easy to grow on logs, and fairly easy to propagate, which means that it is often cultivated by those who are just starting in mushroom culture.
Shiitake mushrooms are a saturated market, so please don't decide to grow these hoping to get rich. They are only profitable if you grow them in combination with other mushrooms, and if you sell direct to the customer. It is very difficult to make enough if you sell them wholesale. They sell best in a shiitake product, such as pickles, dried mixes, etc. They sell for one tenth or LESS of the retail price if you sell them wholesale to a distributor.
If you dry Shiitakes in the sun, with the gills facing up, they concentrate Vitamin D. Shiitakes contain a very absorbable form of Vitamin D, even when they are not dried in the sun. Vitamin D has been linked to immune system health and mood regulation.
Little prolific mushrooms that look like a bouquet bursting from a log! Delicious in salads and with chicken and pork, Enoki (or Enokitake) are a nutty flavored mushroom with a crisp texture.
Easy to grow, and easy to perpetuate. This is called the Winter Mushroom, because it grows in lower temperatures than most cultivated edible mushrooms. Stark white, often harvested with button caps on the end of long stems, they look like they belong more in a cravat than on a dinner plate.
Enoki contains components that may help eliminate certain types of benign skin growths.
Great for cooking and traditionally used as an immune system booster. There are other medical claims made for this mushroom as well, but it is also a choice edible in soups and crispy fried with or without batter.
Personally, I think these mushrooms smell like lightly rotting apples. It is a fairly strong and distinctive smell, and helps differentiate it from similar mushrooms.
Maitake is one of the more frequently available and cultivated mushrooms in the world, partly because of the perceived medicinal benefits, but also as a popular food. It grows in a mass, with a fluff of ruffles that look like feathers or a riot of petals, and goes by the common name of Hen of the Woods, because of the fluffy appearance.
There is a decent market for this mushroom, but it does best when packaged in specialized forms.
The popular large stuffing mushroom, and hamburger mushroom. Pick them before the cap opens for Criminis, and after it opens for Portabellas. Either way, you get flavor and freshness that you just can't get from the store. Enjoy in a wide range of preparations.
Portobellos have been used as replacements for hamburger patties by vegans, and as a replacement for the bun by low-carbers, but it is useful in the kitchen beyond that. They are large mushrooms with good protein content, so you can use them creatively to build an entire meal around.
Easy to grow. In fact, the easiest of all commercial mushrooms. If you can't get anything to grow, you can produce these large and tasty mushrooms. Not recommended for cottage industry though as a mono-crop - the only way you can sell these at a profit is if you have a specialty product that uses them, or if you sell them with many other mushroom products.
Good for sheep and pigs, and can help reduce the effects of chemicals in commercial feeds. They may also help protect them from common minor infections.
For people, they contain components that may help reduce damage to skin and eyes from exposure to airborne chemicals.
Currently, these mushrooms are grown primarily from the brown form of Agaricus Bisporus.
Certain seasons of the year, growers may use Agaricus Brunnescens instead of A. Bisporus. A. Brunnescens has a firmer and whiter cap, and pinker (paler) gills when it is young. A. Bisporus is not quite as firm, and the gills turn darker much earlier.