Today I picked 5 different types op mushroom from a number of inoculated logs at the Edible Wood Farm in Gaanderen. Edible of course and looking good despite the cold weather: shii-take, phoenix oyster mushrooms, the last branched oyster mushrooms, the first pearl oyster mushrooms and velvet shank mushrooms proudly showed their golden heads. A nice suprise and a wonderful way of upgrading low quality wood!
Velvet shank had been inoculated on popular logs on 16th April earlier this year. This was my first try-out with velvet shank and last week golden tiny beads were just visible on a number of logs several days after a heavy night frost. On Thursday I chose two of the most promising logs and carefully removed them from the stack and even more tenderly wedged them in the boot of my VW caddy in between other logs, tools and bits and pieces. It was almost an hour driving from the Edible Wood Farm to my house. My standard driving habit of taking sharp bends and ignoring speed bumps had te be modified for this special occasion because I had to get the logs and their golden treasure back home in one piece, ready for their moment of glory in front of a professional camera.
The choice of a particular individual mushroom is important as it must be a representative of its sort; not too old, not too young, without teeth marks from a ravenous mouse or glistening slime from a slug. Only then is a photo good enough to be used as a presentation of a product in the webshop or on an instruction label. In a world of digital beauty it is not possible for me personally to make photo’s of sufficient quality for the webshop. I also do not have the luxury of an in-house photographer that can be called on to make photo’s of a mushroom (log) at the Edible Wood Farm on very short notice. The only other available method is to take the log to an indoor studio to be photographed (with a very comfortable absence of wind or rain).
It is always quite nerve racking trying to keep the mushroom looking its best at home until it can be transported to the studio. Depending on the mushroom sort it can be kept indoors (not too warm) or outside (not too cold or wet), away from the dogs, snails or whatever else happens to be wandering around. The number of times that I move a log must also be kept minimal because of my somewhat uncoordinated movements or compulsive habit to do more things at once.
The photographer at the studio is now used to me giving him a ring and asking if I can come as soon as possible, usually the next day. I get the impression that they think that I am a little eccentric, always enthousiastic but maybe a little out-of-the ordinary. Perhaps they are right, but this week I was very proud of the velvet shank log and hope that next year a lot more people can enjoy the wonders of this beautiful edible mushroom.