It is cold outside. Darkness sets in at 5 pm and early morning frosts are not uncommon. Winter has arrived and the shii-take mushrooms now develop so slowly that you can almost hear the logs groan in frustration. The last soaking was half november and the water has been drained out of the soaking bath. Logs that have been soaked before November have been sorted and stacked and the other logs doing their best to produce the last couple of mushrooms will also soon join their colleagues. It is a time to reflect on the past season and to start preparations for the next one. This season feels different than other years because it it is the end of an era at the Ooymanhoeve in Doetinchem. Next season the logs will have to get used to new surroundings and to new faces. Suitable locations have been found. The Edible Wood Farm will be split up and will continue at four different places, all of which will have another purpose and function.
Most of the physical work concerning the shii-take logs in the future will be carried out by a care farm. This care farm has many years experience with growing shii-take on logs and we have satisfactorily worked together the past few years. The shii-take project is particularly popular with many of the clients and this is a nurtured and important part of the philosophy and purpose of the care farm. However, several years of internal reorganization of the care sector has lead to a loss of knowhow and that has been reflected in the decreasing quality of their shii-take project. The current project leaders do not have the background to improve the situation and to ensure a productive future. And that is when a need can be turned into an advantage…. We met and discussed each of our problems and after a short period of exploring possible scenarios we chose to fully integrate the two farms. Groene Takken will deliver the material and the practical knowledge and the care farm will carry out the necessary actions. A win-win situation.
Another new location is with the owners of a small tree nursery specialized in the production of nut trees. This small company is situated in the middle of the Netherlands, is surrounded by forest and has its own water supply. Together with the neighbour we will set up a a small-scale Edible Wood Farm and a place to receive interested groups and potential Edible Log Farmers.
Edible wood is an unmissable part of a food forest and another new colleague is the owner and infatuated grower of exotic food forest plants. On his amazing property full of everything possibly edible, visitors can become acquainted with the demonstration Edible Wood Farm and follow a short course or workshop.
The fouth new location is close by Doetinchem, in the forest where the logs for the oyster mushrooms are grown and felled. This young forest produces enough shade and quietude for the oyster mushoom logs and the shii-take logs that will become part of another small-scale Edible Wood Farm. Visitors are welcome in restricted numbers.
And what will I be doing in the month of December? That is not hard to guess…. sorting logs, lifting logs, carrying logs, transporting logs to their new home ….. and doing that all over again until the current Edible Wood Farm is given back to the forest.
photo: selection of logs in production and not in production anymore