“Learning” week 43

“Learning” week 43

Autumn is a busy time of the year. Not only because the logs are productive but also because mushrooms are in the heads and hands of the general public. This translates to a busy webshop and also increased hands-on interest. My agenda from September onwards is full of workshops, courses, consultant work along with the occasional talk and school lesson.
Yesterday (Saturday 30th October) was such a day. I had been asked to give a workshop to a small group of interested people and it included the usual components: general basic information about fungi, log inoculation and a mushroom tasting (mixture of wild and indoor grown). All I knew about the situation was that there was a shelter in case of rain and that electricity was available (handy when drilling holes in the logs as part of the inoculation process). One of the perks of my work is that you often come to unexpected places, inspiring jewels in a crowded country full of cows and cars. This was one of them, a surprise after driving through a village full of millimeterd lawns and swirling metal fences. The oasis of rogue American oaks, surrounded by all sorts of other trees and shrubs suggested a rich wilderness but discarded building materials along the borders suggested long-term development project in progress. My hosts were a young couple who had bought the property unseen several years earlier and had moved in to the former villa with their three young children. They were slowly renovating the crumbling  down buildings whilst intensely enjoying the fish filled pond / natural swimming pool, oak-beech wood and young vegetable garden / food forest. One of the requirements of being able to purchase the property was that they had to retain the agricultural basis by carrying out agricultural activities and in their case they were interested in growing mushrooms on logs.
Their first attempt had failed. Not an unusual state of circumstances as most potential Edible Wood famers in the past have underestimated the knowhow that is needed for success (myself included). However this young couple had optimal conditions to be able to succeed in the future – they had their own supply of healthy young oaks, shade in the oak-beech forest, a lively network of friends and clients and, most importantly, patience combined with the will to give it another go…. this time with a little more background information and technical knowhow.