One-and-a-half years ago we inoculated logs of plum wood with some special fungus; the spawn of shiitake and oyster mushrooms, to be exact. It’s a waiting game. You have to give the mycelium enough time to fully impregnate the logs. After nine to eighteen months, to trigger fruiting you submerge the logs in water for forty-eight hours. Our farm came equipped with an old bathtub perfect for the job, which fills with rainwater from the adjacent shed.
We started with just four of our twelve logs as a trial, weighed down by bricks.
A couple of days later we pulled them out, propped them out of reach from the sheep’s exploratory gobs, and waited again for another couple of weeks.
We were giddy when we spotted a couple of mature shrooms which had suddenly emerged from one of the logs inoculated with shiitake.
Only two caps had sprouted, but soon, hopefully, these logs will be inundated.
Eager to fry up a sample of our very first homegrown mushrooms, we harvested the fruiting bodies from their woody abode.
Sauteed in butter and garlic is a must. Shiitake is known as a meaty mushroom, and we were surprised to find the texture quite similar to meat indeed. The taste wasn’t strong, but it was pleasant. There wasn’t enough! Here’s hoping many more pop up in the coming weeks, so we can make a proper meal of them.