On a recent SARE farm tour of an agroforestry shiitake mushroom operation we got a great tip:
Shiitake producers with cool flowing streams through their production forest laying yards can easily perform the pre-fruiting cold shock with reduced energy and labor costs by simply submerging logs for half- or one-day, sometimes followed by vibration shock treatment. Smaller-scale producers will need drums filled with water, chilled by ice or refrigeration, to cold shock the logs in order to stimulate and synchronize fruiting.
Extension Agent Rick VanVranken offers the Best Management Practices for Log-Based Shiitake Cultivation for Northeast Farmers as the best resource. This 56-page guide, available for free download (2.3 MB), was just published by NESARE in 2013.
Like all successful farming endeavors, specialty mushroom production requires attention to detail. For example, shiitakes grown on hardwood logs must have the relative humidity, ventilation, light intensity and temperature maintained. Oyster mushrooms, on the other hand, are grown on a sterilized cereal grain substrate in bags or bottles. They demand tighter environmental controls within a narrow range and sanitary conditions.
Some Recommended Resources:
The Northeast Forest Mushroom Growers Network and Growers Listserve
Cornell Univ. and Univ. of Vermont with support from NESARE
Production guides, blog, videos, supplies lists, marketing ides and enterprise budgets
Commercial maitake, oyster and shiitake mushroom production guides by Penn State University are recommended by Extension Agent Mike Haberland. In addition, he says hobbyists can begin by attending local Extension or mycological association workshops. Mike suggests advanced hobbyists can benefit from Paul Stamets book, Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, 3rd edition.
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County Call for their 2014 shiitake workshop schedule.
Cultivation Guide by Alice Chen for Unicorn Bags