The Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. NOFA/Mass welcomes everyone who cares about food, where it comes from and how it’s grown

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Learning Your Way into the Fungal Kingdom


Willie, we first met as farm apprentices at Simple Gifts Farm in the spring of 2012. I have this memory of you experimenting with growing mushrooms in the downstairs kitchen of the apprentice house-- specifically I remember you showing off a garbage bag stuffed with substrate that was popping with mushrooms from holes cut in the bag. Was that the year you started learning about growing mushrooms?


Yeah, that was still in the beginning of my interest in mushrooms. In the spring of 2011 I inoculated my first logs with a friend. It was this incredibly expansive time in my life in which I was learning about food and how to eat. I was making a shift from shopping at grocery stores toward being actively involved in food production.

Shiitake logs

Shiitake mushrooms are among the most widely grown mushroom in the world, second only to the common button mushroom. Log-grown shiitake mushrooms are relatively easy to raise, certify organic, and use to create a small-scale commercial operation if you have the basics: space, shade, access to hardwood logs and water. Shiitake growing is a great way to make use of forest or marginal land, such as steep hillsides that may not have other uses.

We will teach participants how to safely and fruitfully forage wild mushrooms. We will introduce the Northeast’s safest and most distinctive gourmet and medicinal fungi, emphasizing the Mushroom Forager’s ForageCast strategy.

I will teach every step of growing mushrooms, from the lab to the growroom or garden. I will explain the benefits of integrating mushrooms into your garden and farm, such as increased availability of minerals, expanded root zones, filtration of pathogens in barn run-off, and remediation of toxic chemicals in the soil.

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