Thursday, March 8, 2007

How Oyster Mushrooms Are Grown

How Oyster Mushrooms Are Grown

Pleurotus ostreatus or Oyster Mushrooms, as most of us know them as, are another one of the great edible species of mushroom. And luck for us they are cultivated right here in Canada.

Oyster mushrooms get their name from both English and Latin languages. Pleurotus in Latin meaning sideways, which refers to the sideway growth of the mushroom, and ostreatus in English meaning oyster.

So how do they grow? Like other mushrooms, oyster mushrooms are grown in a sterilized, bio-secure facility. These facilities differ from other mushroom varieties because more humidity and fresh are is required. Like shiitake mushrooms, oysters grow well on a wide range of agricultural waste products like hardwood chips, chopped cereal straws, or ground corn cobs.

After this mixture of growing materials is pasteurized and cooled, it is inoculated with the mushroom spawn. It is then packed into long tube shaped plastic bags. Holes are punched in the plastic to allow for the mycelia to breath. These long bags are then hung in environmentally controlled growing rooms. After about 14 days, the mushrooms have grown out of the holes in the sides of the bags; they are now ready to be harvested.

Like all mushrooms, oysters are also harvested by hand. The picker will go around to each hanging bag and gently cut off the oysters that are the right size. This also adds space where more oyster mushrooms can grow.
After all the mushrooms are harvested the growing medium, or spent mushroom substrate, can be used as an environmentally safe fertilizer, great for lawns, gardens and farmers fields.

There are several different kinds of mushrooms within the oyster family, the most popular commercially grown varieties are grey, yellow, brown, black, white and pink. They are all grown the same way, they are just a different strain of spore, and are “fed” different nutrients in their substrates.

After harvest the oyster mushrooms are then delivered to your local grocery store, ready to hit your plate.

Mmmmmm…. Delicious!

Stay tuned, as we discover how enoki mushrooms are grown.

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