Edible Log Farm Weekly Blog
On Friday afternoon I had an appointment with Farmers in the Forest Foundation about 1,5 hours away from my office. I met the three parttime farmers in a very sober village café and we exchanged background informatie over cups of coffee and tea. We then jumped into the car together with Bruce the dog and headed off to the first destination a couple of kilometers away.
This robinia (Robinia pseudoacacia) forest was planted about 20 years ago together with hundreds of hectares in different locations by an investment company. The idea was that the wood from this fast-growing species could partially replace the import of tropical tree species. It was a good idea but due to all sorts of internal problems the company collapsed leaving the forests to fend for themselves. Throughout the years local investors had bought the forests and were now prepared to let the Foundation members use specific areas for raising pigs for the consumer market. The forest was now being thinned and the felled trees produced logs that were suitable for growing edible mushrooms. The robinia forest once thinned would be a perfect place for the pigs during the summer months. One of the questions for me to answer was which mushrooms could be grown on robinia and what would be the best cultivation method. Another concern was the combination of edible mushrooms and pigs. Pigs like mushrooms!
The Tamworth pigs were currently in their winter quarters, quite close by. We drove to the sofwood plantation and stepped out of the car. Out of the dark forest rushed a stream of golden brown bodies, big and small, full of grunts and squawks. Balloon like ears and little beady eyes followed our every movement. The family groups of mothers and youngsters appeared delighted once we entered their domain and our trousers quickly became covered with prints of muddy snouts. It was difficult to ignore the attention of these friendly pigs but we were in their forest to assess the possibilities for edible wood. The dark canopy and the natural greenhouse effect would later be a perfect place for one part of the cultivation process. However the logs would have to be protected from the pigs but the pigs could protect the logs from too curious visitors.