Summer 2018: Bad for gardeners, great for mushroom farmers
You may have noticed more mushrooms in your backyard in recent weeks. The rainfall this summer has fall mushrooms coming up early, giving one local farm a luxury problem.
"It may not be a good year for gardeners, but it's been a great year for mushroom farmers," Angel Miller, owner of 2 Angels Mushroom Farm said.
The outdoor fall mushrooms are about 30 days ahead of schedule. Miller is harvesting every Friday, sending the crop to restaurants in Chattanooga and in Nashville.
The following Monday, the soil is bare. Miller said once more sprout up, within 24 hours, the mushrooms double in size.
"It grows really quickly, the cell division is really fast," Miller added.
An indoor facility has been added to keep up with demands. It houses several wood loving varieties, including the Golden Oyster. Each mushroom is in a bag containing Mycelium, which is plant tissue, and sawdust.
The lights used are the closest they can get to natural sunlight, using a 6500K light. The more light the mushrooms get, the more Vitamin D they produce.
Miller said raw mushrooms can make pets sick, and others found in our area can be deadly, including the Destroying Angel.
"There are mushrooms in our area that are beautiful, but a small piece, could be the size of my pinky nail, is enough to kill an adult man," Miller stated.
The Destroying Angel is all white, has a skirt-like ring around the stalk and white gills.
A difficult one to grow is called Chicken of the Woods. 2 Angels produced a two and a half pound Chicken of the Woods this year. Miller said those who don't care for mushrooms may like this variety.
"This mushroom is more like a meat than it is like other mushrooms, so if someone says that, I say you need to try Chicken of the Woods, you'll like them, and they do," Miller said.
The mushroom has a lemony, meaty taste, and others describe the flavor as being more like crab or lobster. Chicken of the Woods can be confused with Maitake and Hen of the Woods. Maitake is a mushroom commonly found on oak trees in late fall and early winter. Miller thinks this variety will come early too, and it's edible.
2 Angels Mushroom Farm has the highest production of mushrooms this year since 2013. A presentation will be held on Monday, August 27th on the Roles of the Kingdom of Fungi Mushrooms at the Ooltewah Green Thumb Garden Club at 7:00 PM.
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