Tag Archives: Wine Cap Mushrooms

Winecap Mushroom Update

Ann Arbor FoodOK for weeks I have been walking out to my pile of winecap mushroom spore inoculated  oak wood chip in the hopes of seeing a large flush of burgundy color mushrooms.

Winecaps are pretty fickle because you never know when they are going to fruit. Other mushrooms are more consistent. It is because of the random natural of winecaps that they are not widely cultivated commercially.

I have talked to people who say that it can take 1-2 years for a wood chip pile to colonize and begin fruiting mushrooms. I started the pile in October with the plan to have mushrooms ready for sale at the Westiside Farmers Market before the season ends in late September.

Well it looks like there is a chance of a harvest. I discovered this little (partly eaten) winecap mushroom in my wood chip pile.

I take this to mean that there can be more to come this season.

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Wine Cap Mushrooms: At The Westside Farmers Market 2011

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As most know, this was my first year at the farmers market. We offered micogreens, and baked goods (pocket pies, focaccia bread, cinnamon cake, and more). With my first year under my belt, the thought is about next year. And those thoughts are on Mushrooms.

Easygrow sells a number of mushroom kits at the AA Farmers Market. The picture above shows a kit for Winecap Mushrooms, which are a large mushroom like portabella, but boost a better flavor.

Also in the works are some mushrooms grown on logs. The plan is to grow shittake. I want to offer a third, but I have not decided on the variety.

Some mushrooms like mitake can take two years to fruit. The idea is to have the mushrooms ready for sale next summer.

Easygrow also sells morrel kits, which can be hit or miss and take up top two years to fruit too, but I just have to get a few and see.

Winecap growing procedure:

1) Find fresh oak wood chips (call around to area tree services)
2) Find a shady spot, about 4 x 8 feet
3) Spread a thick layer of newspaper, and lightly wet down
4) Layer a 2-3 inch layer of wood chips on the paper
5) tare off some balls from the starter kit, and place on the wood chips every 8-12 inches apart in rows, using a diamond pattern off centering them from row to row
6) wet down, and add another layer of chips and wet down some more
7) If using two bag (kits), seed another layer
8) top again with another 2-4 inches of chips
9) spray the whole pile down
10) cover with some straw (helps with moisture)
11) Place a short fence around it to keep out critters like skunks that like to dig up the pile (optional)
12) let sit over winter or start in the early spring for a fall harvest

Enjoy the Harvest

Here are pictures of the process for growing winecaps

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First Layer: Thick layer of Wet Newspaper and fresh oak wood chips

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Pile of fresh oak wood chips, about 2-4 yards

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First layer of chips

More pictures coming!!!

I got so busy hauling wheelbarrows of wood chips that I forget to take the pics of the finished bed.

Update: Here is a picture of the finished mushroom bed minus the straw.

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