Gourmet and medicinal mushroom production for forest farming in the Northeast
CALS Impact Statement
The protocol for forest production of gourmet and medicinal mushrooms involves inoculation of freshly-cut logs with mycellial plugs of suitable fungal species. Logs produce mushrooms about one year after inoculation and may continue to be productive for three or more years if managed to avoid drying below 24 percent log moisture content (LMC). Substrate (tree) species is known to affect mushroom yield but a grower must balance the biologically-optimal tree species against tree species availability. The objective of the first experiment was to determine the optimal combination of tree species and moisture management regime for three different fungal species
Forest farming is an economically and ecologically sustainable agroforesty system, well suited to the Northeast, with demonstrated potential for improving the value of forest resources through production of food, medicinals and ornamentals, while providing incentives for effective private forest management and environmental conservation. Forest stand improvement involves tree thinning and other activities that generate wood that is not suitable for timber. In some cases nontimber quality wood is sold as firewood, but when used as a substrate for mushroom production, such wood is worth several times the equivalent value of firewood
Two experiments were initiated at the Arnot Teaching and Research Forest evaluating fungal by tree species interaction. Extension events were held in three counties to instruct land owners on how to cultivate gourmet and medicinal mushrooms in the forest.