Most people like mushrooms with their steak, mushroom soup and entrees such as stuffed mushrooms. And as they come nicely packaged we don’t need to think too much about how they are gathered. So here is an article about the day in the life of someone who has picked mushrooms for a living.
In a previous life I was employed as a mushroom picker. Read my account on the life of a mushroom picker and understand why I have changed direction into Affiliate Marketing and completing online Surveys.
The Life Cycle of a Mushroom
To be able to pick mushrooms you need to know all about mushrooms and how they grow. Each room at the mushroom farm has two platforms that stretch from the front of the room to the back for 100 meters. The platforms are raised off the ground on frames, with a space of 1 meter between the top of one platform and the base of the next. The frames are made of 6 platforms each with a depth of 20 centimeters and lined with a mesh to hold the compost. The compost is mixed with wheat seeds that contain a mushroom starter spore. A layer of casing peat is placed on top of the compost.
The mushroom plant or mycelium grows from those spores like a spider web across the compost and when conditions are right sends the first mushrooms or pins through the peat.
The pins are thinned to create growing space for each mushroom as they breach the surface of the peat or casing. The mushrooms grow to become buttons, then cups, then flats.
A cup is when the mushroom veil breaks away from the stalk and begins to open.
The eight week cycle is made up of flushes. And each flush is approximately 7 days duration. The first pins emerge and over the seven days the buttons are picked at a medium size until all mushrooms are removed. The beds rest and the cycle starts again.
In ideal conditions a mushroom will double its size in twenty four hours.
Depending on how heavily the first crop is thinned determines the size of the mushrooms and the size of the crop of mushrooms. If too few pins or first mushrooms are taken the temperature on the beds gets too warm due to crowding and the small flowers open, making a crop of small flats. This isn’t ideal for the growers as the flats are light and it takes a long time to fill a 4 kilo box with light product. Buttons on the other hand are full of water and very heavy.
Growing mushrooms is a technical process and the temperature, water, co2, the mixture of compost, and how they are harvested, all determine the rate at which mushrooms grow and the quality of the produce.
So the growing conditions determine whether the mushrooms are heavy or light, have good color or are stained, are large or small even shaped or crazy organic art that sometimes resembles motor car parts or animals.
Sometimes disease will ruin a whole room full of mushrooms as they are susceptible to all manner of blights spots and bubbles. There are ten trichoderma species that inhabit mushroom farms and can cause problems.
Being fungi it is competing with other yeasts and fungi to break down the compost and sometimes the competing fungi is more virulent so great they ruin a crop….to be continued
This book is for beginers who want to try mushrooming, but don’t know how to start. It’s a unique approach that focuses on only six of the most unmistakable edible mushrooms in North America. Recipes are included.