Mushroom blocks are offered by many online retailers. We bought ours from FungiPerfecti, the brainchild of mycologist Paul Stamets. Some other fungi retailers that carry different varieties and different tools for DIY mycology are fieldforest.net, and gourmetmushrooms.com.
I bought my wife four varieties for her birthday in February. Two have started to grow mushrooms already, and we expect the other two to fruit very soon. Here are some of the pics of the shrooms in all their glory.
The Few Blocks We Bought
The block of Enokitakes (not yet fruiting)
The block of Maitakes (not yet fruiting)
Our Experience Thus Far
One great thing about these mushrooms from Fungi Perfecti is the book of instructions that come with each kit. I remember when mushroom kits first became a thing, at least I think I do. I bought one or two varieties from a Discovery store in the mall when I was newly married. What I remember from that past experience is that the instructions were not as involved as the instructions that came with the kits from FP. All that was necessary in those old kits was to mist the shrooms each day and wait. I think we got Shiitakes. If we got another variety too, I can’t remember.
Prepping Shiitakes this time involved soaking them in cold water for a certain amount of time and then removing the bag entirely. Other Mushrooms require different prep strategies. Lion’s Mane involved cutting a few slits in the bag that the Mushroom came with and misting a couple times a day. Enokitakes needed an ice bath and a time in the refrigerator. And as for Maitakes, we’re just waiting on gobs of grey to appear. The bag remains sealed in its hermetic envelope.
Like gardening, Mycology seems to be an art in patience. Every year we plant seeds, my wife will worry that the plants we just planted won’t come up, that they’ll reach a moment in their brief lives where there will not be enough water, nutrients, sun and they will just shrivel up and fail to produce a sprout. It’s been about a month since we got these mushrooms, and I’m still waiting.
It’s been great to see the Shiitakes and Lion’s Mane, though. A couple of years ago, we plugged shiitakes in logs. This is something we’ll probably do with the mycelium from these blocks later this year. I’ve only seen Lion’s mane in the wild, and so it was pretty cool to have enough to make a substantial meal of it. It was delicious. I can’t wait for more.
Stay tuned for recipes, instructions on how to grow your own, and some foraging tips on finding wild mushrooms. Around here, Morels are coming out soon and after that, oysters, hawkswing, chicken of the woods, etc. I’m looking forward to sharing what we find.
We’re very interested in what you’re finding in your region or any experience you have with growing mushrooms or even eating mushrooms. Please leave a comment below.