Mushroom Production Seminar 2014

Gourmet mushrooms are a high value crop which can be a great addition to a diversified farming operation, especially if they are lucky enough to be situated on land with a decent parcel of hardwood forest (for log production), or willing to invest in the equipment necessary for more intensive cultivation.

Wild harvesting mushrooms can also be a lot of fun, and fairly lucrative, if you know where to go and when, and can find a buyer. Many gourmet restaurants are thrilled to get wild-harvested mushrooms, so it’s worth trying to make these connections. I have done this with both morel’s and hen of the woods (see pictures below). But make sure you know what you’re doing if you’re going to hunt (for more information see below). Also anyone interested in this topic should check out Paul Stamets on 6 ways mushrooms can save the world.

1) Fungi Perfecti is, in my opinion, the gold standard for mushroom products, publications, high quality spawn, and seminars. Paul Stamets is a true pioneer in the field, and continues to produce first rate research on bioremediation, eco-mycology, and theoretical interpretations of fungal behavior. His now classic books, The Mushroom Cultivator, and Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms are unparalleled texts for learning to produce multiple species of mushrooms in a variety of growing systems, at almost any scale. If you buy only two books on mushroom production, it should be these. Also check out Paul Stamets YouTube Channel.

2) There is a good 86 page publication on Small Scale Mushroom Cultivation available from Journey to Forever or at FAO.org.

3) Alabama Cooperative Extension has a basic Shiitake Mushroom Log Production publication available online. And another Shiitake Log Production Publication, which I actually like better, is available from the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry.

4) The Mushroom Council offers excellent research and production information for mushroom growers. Their website is full of resources for mushroom growers including retail info.; industry statistics; news items, and much more.

5) The University of California Small Farm Program offers a very nice overview of the potential for mushroom production on small farms (including resources) in their online publication Mushrooms: A Small Scale Agriculture alternative.

6) The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA) offers comprehensive information on mushroom production and sales on their Mushroom Cultivation and Marketing page.

7) A Reference for Mushroom Growers from Penn State University is a site that provides current information about the diseases and pests that plague the mushroom growing industry.  Information on new trends and developments in the industry is also included. More commercial than small-scale in its emphasis.

8) GardenGuides.com has a nice information page on Low Cost Mushroom Production at Home.

9) The Mushroom Growers Newsletter has a great website with lots of production resources, a supplier list, an events list, book reviews, and more.

10) University of Maryland Extension has a web publication and cost spreadsheet on Shiitake Mushroom Production and Marketing.

11) HotFrog has a Mushroom Production Directory which lists companies who sell supplies, and farms that produce edible mushrooms.

12) Gourmet Mushrooms and Mushroom Products has mushroom growing kits, spawn, books, and other supplies.

13) Gourmet Mushrooms Inc. has equipment for and information about mushroom production.

14) Shroomery has some decent information about production of a number of edible mushroom species.

I strongly recommend that anyone interested in mushroom production at any level, and especially about collecting mushrooms in the wild, will need to learn some basic Mycology. Here are some good websites that can help you with that:

MycoWeb: http://www.mykoweb.com/ Lots of great scientific information, pictures, recipes, articles, links, and much more and much more…

Tom Volk’s Fungi Page: http://www.tomvolkfungi.net/ This page is a comprehensive and information packed source for all things related to fungi. Fantastic information, pictures, links, articles, and more…

FungiPhoto.com: http://www.fungiphoto.com/ Lots of great pictures by genera.

Fungi of Saskatchewan http://www.usask.ca/biology/fungi/home_%20page.shtml has good keys, a list of fungi with photos, and lots of other resources for hunting mushrooms.

There are also a number of good Mushroom Hunting Books. Here are a few of my favorites:

The books with the best dichotomous keys are the first two:

Mushrooms Demystified written by David Arora, 10 Speed Press.: Not a lot of pictures, but this one has the best keys, and serious mushroom hunters consider it ‘the bible’. $32.95

Mushrooms of North Eastern North America written by Alan Bessette, Arleen Bessette, and David Fischer, Syracuse University Press. Great Keys, and lots of color pictures. $49.95

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms by Gary H. Lincoff, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Great pictures with short descriptions, but doesn’t include Latin names or keys. Small enough to easily take on a foray. $20.95

All the Rain Promises and More is also written By David Arora, and published by 10 Speed Press. It is a nice pocket guide, easy to carry, with good pictures and lots of fun stuff. A joy to read. $17.95


Mushroom Farming: A Cure For Nigeria’s Mono-Economy Syndrome

The diverse challenges and constraints as growing population,
increasing food, feed and fodder needs, natural resource degradation,
climate change, new parasites, slow growth in farm income and new
global trade regulations demand a paradigm shift in formulating and
implementing agricultural research programmes.

Mushrooms represent microbial technology that recycles agricultural
residues into food and manure. These are important source of quality
protein, minerals and various novel compounds of medicinal value, do not
compete for land and have very high productivity per unit area and time.

Mushrooms appearing after rains in various shapes, sizes and
colours have fascinated human being since time immemorial and were sure
to draw the attention of humans even when they were living as hunters and
gatherers. Even though, man started agriculture 10,000 years ago, the
cultivation of mushrooms is a relatively new phenomenon and has picked
up across the globe only in the last century that has witnessed newer
innovations and applications.

Mushroom cultivation production gives small holder farmers a big chance
to increase their income, improve their health and offers an alternative
means of livelihood to urban and rural farmers. The process of growing
mushroom is one of the easiest ways to earn a living and not much physical
strength is required in its production.

The potentials in mushroom farming makes it an investor’s delight as a viable
money-making option. Investment in mushroom production will in the long run
contribute to food security, wealth, health and employment creation.

GETTING STARTED

Starting a mushroom farm is a potentially lucrative way of getting into
the farming business. Its cultivation is also regarded as one of the most
science-based branches of agriculture and horticulture.
Growing mushroom is a rewarding experience.

Not only can it be used for your dining table, you might also be able to develop
great relationships with individuals, Hotels and food caterers; if you have a
small space to create a small farm.

This kind of farming is highly remunerative enterprise with quick returns.

TYPES

There are many types of mushrooms and they can be categorized into four:
Saprotrophic, Mycorrhizal, Parasitic, and Entophytic.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Edible mushrooms are considered as healthy food because their mineral
content is higher than that of meat or fish and most vegetables.
The protein content of fresh mushrooms is about twice that of vegetables
and four times that of oranges.

Mushrooms contain proteins which have all the nine amino-acids that are
essential for the health of human beings and they are especially rich in
lysine and leucine, which are lacking in most staple cereal foods.

Scientists have also indicated that mushrooms are devoid of starch and low
in calories and other carbohydrates. It is clear that apart from the nutritional
value of mushrooms, they have potential medicinal benefits and are also an ideal
\food for the diabetics and obese people.

The health benefits of mushrooms also include improvement in the body’s immune
system and the prevention of all forms of cancers and tumors.

GOOD MARKET

Many opportunities abound in the growth of mushrooms as many hospitality
industries in the country still import the product to add to their meals.
Majority of big hotels in Nigeria have mushrooms in their daily menu, but
this mushrooms came from abroad, which means local production will have a
ready market. There is opportunity to even export mushroom, once you can
produce good quality that can be exported to Europe and America.

Growing mushroom locally would complement government’s effort to turn waste
to wealth, including the production of something that could be highly nutritious.

Production of mushrooms involve mainly the use of agricultural waste without
the use of chemicals and it appears safe.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Nigerian job seekers can succeed in overcoming the challenges of poverty and
unemployment through micro, small and medium scale rat breeding. But first we
must empower our people with the right resources and skills; then they’ll be able
to create a brighter future for themselves and for the country.

To this extent, Jovana Farms is organizing series of seminars and workshops
throughout the country so as to enable those interested in engaging in the
business to acquire the required skills.

INCREASED AWARENESS

More farmers are of late going into the farming of mushrooms, a neglected and
forgotten healthy food, which is not only improving the financial status of the
producers but the health of the consumers as well.

The business of mushroom cultivation in Nigeria is now growing at a feverish
pitch attracting investors who are considering it either as a complimentary
business proposition or as a main and sustainable revenue stream.

But either proposition has potentials to earn decent returns. This could be
taken to be a fair confirmation of the position that, run professionally,
mushroom farming may well be a key wealth creation option to consider in the country.

Local demand for mushroom is increasing as the people become more health
conscious by avoiding the consumption of red meat that are loaded with cholesterol.

Mushroom is not an entirely new food item on the table of Nigerians, it was at
a point relegated to the background food for rural dwellers, but today is
regarded as food for the rich because of its high cost.

VIABILITY

The technology for the cultivation of mushroom species could be easily
adopted by individuals, co-operative societies, families, farmers, schools
in the rural and urban centres without difficulties.
The cultivation of mushroom can be done all year round as sources of the
mushrooms are from agricultural wastes which are always available in
abundance in Nigeria.

Additionally, while a kilo of chicken goes for N700 on an average in Nigeria,
a kilo of mushroom is about N1,700. Mushroom beds need a dark room for only
14-18 days while harvesting is usually 4-6 days after opening the bags,
mushroom primordia begin to form. Mature mushrooms become ready for harvesting
in another 3-4 days.

You can get started, without the costly items the so-called experts say you
should have. With about N80,000 one can kick-off with twenty mushroom platforms
constructed with scrap materials by a road side carpenter. They are cultivated in
a small floor space.

Mushroom farming is a miracle waiting to happen in Nigeria agricultural business
sphere.