Economic Forest Fungi '98

Richard McGuiness Armich at
Sat Nov 28 18:04:00 EST 1998

Thanks for another excellant posting. I'd like to point out thge danger of
creating what we call an "economic buffalo wallow", in which a natural resource is
asked to provide an economic return on an incredible influx of attention and
capital. For a dozen years "underutilized" species of ocean fish were identified,
the fleet rigged out and the chase on. In each case the first year was a boom
followed by declining return below commercial potential. By your own statements
these species are critical in restoration efforts, which must start in the
watershed, not the creek bottom. Recent articles on the decline of matauke in
Japan and Oregon may hinder efforts there.They are shooting each other over salal
and huckbrush as well. Isolated pockets of old growth become more than preserves,
they are the seed source for restoring the rhizosphere, and thier denizens crucial
players, not just ornaments. The rhizosphere is obviously a complete unknown to
the timber companies, as is soil management. Minor adjustments, like mulching all
sites with chipped debis, would go a long way in maintaining a profitable and
stable landscape.
                                 Richard McGuiness

dwheeler at wrote:

> The following article has been slightly revised for 1998. The original was
> presented at the 1994 Clackamas County Farm Forestry Association Tree School.
> The article is copywritten.
>                                 ECONOMIC FOREST FUNGI
>                                    c. 1998 By Dan Wheeler
>                 Address to Clackamas County Farm Forestry Association
>         Good morning and welcome. I’m Dan Wheeler.      I’m current president
> of the North American Truffling Society, a non-profit organization that
> identifies, collects and preserves true and false truffles, and truffle-like
> fungi.       All fungi are important to tree farmers. Growing trees require
> fungi to survive. Kill symbiotic fungi and you kill host trees. Kill trees
> and you kill symbiotic fungi.         Fungi represent 52-55% of the total
> living cells. called biomass, of both tree farm and forest. Trees constitute
> 30-35% of biomass.     In biology you may have learned fungi spread by
> airborne spores. If that were true, everyone could easily grow fungi. And
> desserts would not exist.     Fewer than 100 mushroom species have ever been
> cultivated. The Pacific Northwest alone has at least 8,000 fungal species.
>    This is why forests are in conflict today. Foresters by definition grow
> trees. Fungi are not trees. Thus foresters manage at best 30-35% of forest
> biomass.     There are at least five essentials to growing trees: AIR, WATER,
> SOIL, LIGHT, MYCORRHIZAL FUNGI.        The only Northwest tree which does not
> require symbiotic fungi to survive is Western Redcedar.  Fungi are essential
> to grow most trees, and nearly all plants.  During the past 3,000 years,
> history has documented the decline of forests and a corresponding increase in
> desserts. In his book Tree Crops, J. Russell Smith, an economist, notes
> modern agriculture is a case of “First the saw, then fire, then the plow.
> Finally move on when the soil is lost.”    Remember the five essentials to
> grow trees? What happens when soil is gone? Dessert.    Remember how many
> fungi are found in the Northwest? That number may be 80%, 60%, 40%, or 20% of
> the actual number. No one really knows.         Dr. William Dennison,
> president of the Oregon Small Woodlands Association, found 60 species of
> fungi growing inside Douglas fir needles. He explained these fungi cause the
> needles to become stiff.    The fungal-tree connection is similar to the
> oldest known terrestrial plants -- lichens. Lichens are algae and fungi. The
> fungi provide algae with water and nutrients. The algae provide fungi with
> simple sugars from photosynthesis. Kill the algae and the fungi die. Kill the
> fungi and the algae die. This relationship is called symbiosis. Symbiotic
> fungi help plants grow. When they are associated with roots, they are termed
> mycorrhizae, literally fungus root.   Not all fungi are symbiotic. Some are
> saprophytes. Saprophytes survive by eating wood, leaves, twigs, cones or
> other dead and dying vegetable and animal matter. Saprophytic fungi are
> essential to life on Earth as we know it. Orson K. Miller of Virginia
> Polytechnic once hypothesized a world without saprophytic fungi. Try to
> imagine all land covered 65 feet deep by wood, leaves, organic debris and
> excrement.       The third and last group of fungi are parasites. Parasites
> are usually considered harmful. But harmful is dependent on what is grown.
> Phellinus weirii or root rot is harmful to conifers. Bacillus thurengensis is
> a bacteria harmful to Gypsy moths. Both are parasites. Are both harmful to
> tree growers?    If fungi are important to trees, how should they be managed?
> There is insufficient data.        Can fungi be cultivated, and if so how?
> About 100 species have been grown to date in the world. Paul Stamets of Fungi
> Perfecti in Olympia, Washington offers a course on cultivation for only $500.
> You provide your own meals, room and transportation. This "short course"
> lasts two weeks.   What other fungal properties are there? Medicinal, food,
> insecticides, soil builders, pathogenic fungal fighters are just some.
>  This class can’t and won’t answer all your questions. At best it may
> stimulate the formation of your questions. it will be your responsibility to
> research and find answers.    Remember this: all forestry management
> practices - from cutting branches to killing trees to planting trees - affect
> fungi. Some management practices produce healthy tree stands. Others ensure
> tree death. One thing is clear: if you don’t manage fungi, fungi will manage
> you.      Fungal managers must first learn fungal identification. Growing or
> selling wrong fungi may kill. Some fungal toxins are as potent as cobra
> venom. Others are known as health-aids: streptomyacin, myliacin, tetracyclin,
>  cyclosporin, and others.      New plant species continue to be found. This
> doesn’t prevent growing or cultivating some species. Similarly, it is better
> to grow fungi than not.       This class is my best guess where fungi are
> headed.     Let me read you an article by Jeff Barnard from the Jan. 4, 1994
> Oregonian. (INSERT ARTICLE)    The following is from the Feb. 1, 1993 Oregon
> Grange Bulletin, page 11 (READ ARTICLE).  Mushroom picking on federal land
> has a limited future, I believe. Mushroom harvesting is now big business. The
> BLM and Forest Service are being forced to deal with the issues of fungal
> permits, citations, identification, safety, and management. Current citations
> are laughable, compared to what pickers can expect to make.      I believe
> the value of mushrooms on private timberland and tree farms can be more
> valuable than trees. If proven, such value will give tree growers tremendous
> income. That income would be necessary for fungal management and prevention
> of mushroom rustling.        Fungal management and cultivation may create
> many high-paying jobs. These will be in mycology, research, medicine,
> harvesting, forest management, wildlife management, marketing,
> transportation, packaging and advertising. Othe rjobs will be created which
> don’t even have names today. Fungal marketing provides a whole forest of
> additional products - many not known today.      Let’s examine 24
> possibilities now. They are listed on the handout you received when entering.
>  The first 10 examples are symbiotic fungi. These fungi require trees to
> exist.  In 1986 a Vancouver, B.C. mushroom picker gathered 230 pounds of
> matsutake in one day, and was paid $10 per pound. In 1992 pickers receive
> $6-$40 per pound, and at least one picker received $100 per pound. On October
> 11, 1993 matsutake reached $600 per pound.     You may have recently read of
> a timber sale appeal near Crater Lake. The Oregon Natural Resources Council
> and a member of the Oregon Mycological Society brought the suit, contending
> the matsutake harvest from the site is more valuable than the poor quality
> Lodgepole pine scheduled for removal. Last year matsutake generated $20
> million in Oregon. The proposed sale is reportedly in the middle of a
> lucrative matsutake bed.         I found matsutake once, in July, 1979.
> Although it was summer, the five-acre parcel showed more mushrooms than
> grass. I could have picked several hundred pounds that day.      Matsutake is
> usually found with Douglas fir, Ponderosa pine or Lodgepole pine in sandy
> soils. The eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1980 may be a blessing for matsutake
> hunters 20 years from now.         The next mushroom is the most expensive
> fungus on Earth today. The Italian White truffle is associated with European
> hazel, Ilex oak, European willow and a few other tree species. It has not
> been reported from the U.S. One monster weighed 2.2 lbs. Had that specimen
> been found in Feb., 1991 it would have sold for at least $3,000.      The
> third fungus is esoteric. At the turn of the century, the French brought
> French black truffles to market in wheelbarrows. During the 1930s this
> truffle was cheaper than potatoes. In 1990 France produced 60,000 pounds of
> truffles. In 1992 production dropped to 4,000 pounds.   Over half the current
> world supply of French Black truffles are produced in Northern Spain on a
> single 1700-acre plantation less than 7 years old. Each 8- foot hazel is
> planted 20 feet apart. Truffle production requires at least 3-4 years from
> inoculation. Both French Black and Italian White truffles are found in
> calcareous soil. This soil is so poor and rocky that the Spanish government
> said nothing would grow there. Truffles are found by specially-trained dogs.
> Truffles may be half an inch to 3 feet deep.        The French black truffle
> averages one-half to 1 ounce in size, comparable to the Oregon White truffle.
>  Oregon’s claim to culinary fame is the Oregon White truffle, or Tuber
> gibbosum. It was first discovered in a mixed Douglas fir-oak stand in
> California during the 1800s. It is now considered species specific with
> Douglas fir - that means only with Douglas fir. It now sells for $200 per
> pound, down from $400 per pound in 1984.  Recent analysis of truffles shows
> they contain two peromones - androsterol and androstenol. Pheromones are
> chemical sex attractants. They are sometimes called aphrodisiacs. Over 60
> species of Northwest animals eat truffles. Dr. James Trappe has noted Mule
> deer eat truffles almost exclusively during October and November, by
> analyzing fecal pellets. The onset of rut and truffle eating may not be
> coincidence.       Animals are essential to truffles and false truffles. When
> spores mature, the truffle releases a powerful aroma which attracts animals
> to dig and eat them. The spores disperse through the gut, and are gradually
> expelled, up to a month after ingestion.     The most prolific truffle eater
> is the California Red-backed vole. Voles eat their weight in truffles each
> day. A mature vole requires at least 16 pounds of truffles to survive each
> year. Voles produce 300 fecal pellets each day. Each pellet can inoculate a
> new tree. According to Chris Maser, a small mammal specialist, the California
> Red-backed vole is the most common mammal of forests west of the Cascade
> Mountains.     If there are 100 voles per acre, then an acre must produce
> 1600 pounds of truffles and false truffles to feed the vole population. No
> one knows how many voles exist per acre.  I first hunted truffles at Paul
> Bishop’s Jones Creek Tree Farm in November, 1985. The farm is three miles
> from here, and is our destination this afternoon. The farm produced about 100
> pounds of true and mostly false truffles per acre in 1985. At that time, the
> trees were 5 to 8 feet tall.       Beginning in 1986, I began cultivation or
> enhancement studies here. In 1988 and 1989, almost every tree inoculated had
> truffles. By 1990 these areas produced between 300 and 1300 pounds of Tuber
> species per acre per year. This amounts of $60,000 to $260,000 per acre of
> fungi annually.   One benefit of truffles is their effect on root rots. Dr.
> Trappe notes that truffle and false truffles association decreased root rots.
> It is presumed that truffles act as fungal prophylactics to root rots. This
> hypothesis has not been proven.     The fifth fungus is an example of
> hundreds of unnamed fungi. In May, 1992 Dr. Trappe indicated that the “Spring
> gibbosum” was in fact a separate, distinct species. This new species
> typically fruits in the spring, is relatively large, and has a different
> interior color from Oregon White truffles. It appears to fruit in quantities
> as great or greater than the Oregon White truffle, at least on Paul Bishop’s.
> Very little data has been collected to date. Positive identification requires
> a scanning electron microscope.  The most economically important wild
> mushroom in the Pacific Northwest is Cantharellus cibarius, the Golden
> Chanterelle. Chanterelles prefer mid- or old- growth tree stands locally.
> However on the cost chanterelles have been found 10 years after clearcuts.
> Northwest chanterelles are preferred by cooks because they have few worms.
> Our chanterelles also tend to be larger than elsewhere. Washington
> chanterelles may weigh 2 pounds each. Average weight is 2 to 6 ounces. A
> commercial picker may cover 2 acres a day, and collect 300 pounds. That
> translates to 150 pounds per acre, for a retail value of $1200 per acre per
> year.       As tree species replace each other leading to a climax forest
> there is also a succession of fungi with individual trees. Abundant
> chanterelles often mean few truffles. Removal of more than 5% of biomass at
> any time adversely affects chanterelle production. The current annual value
> of chanterelles is so great, it seems reasonable that ecological requirements
> of chanterelles should be learned. That basic research has yet to be done.
>   Since 1890, European studies indicate chanterelles are in decline. No one
> knows why, although acid rain is strongly suspected.  I have seen false
> truffles associate with seedling trees, followed by true truffles when full
> canopy is reached. True truffles remain for about 50 years before being
> replaced by chanterelles.         The sale of chanterelles overseas without
> additional processing is like buying Douglas fir lumber from Japan. Both are
> resource drains and continue to trade deficit. Chanterelles are now bought
> from pickers at $1-$4 per pound, packed in brine in 50-gallon barrels and
> shipped to Germany. In Germany the mushrooms are canned, and resold to the
> United States at $16 per pound. Why are American canneries not canning
> chanterelles?     During the Winter Olympics at Sarajevo, some sportscasters
> mentioned our next fungus. One said porcini mushrooms were selling for $40
> per pound. Porcini is Italian for “little pig.” These fungi may well have
> been harvested in Oregon or Washington. The King bolete, as porcini is called
> locally, is well-known. There are two flushes or fruitings each year in
> Oregon: one in spring, one in late summer or fall.        Pickers find up to
> 250 pounds per day. They receive $1-$5 per pound, which equals $125 to $1875
> per acre per flush.     The King bolete is world-renowned. It is also called
> Penny-bun bolete, ceps and Steinpiltz. Cut the King into 1/4-inch slices, and
> dry for future use. I’m hard pressed to sell this mushroom. I like it too
> much. It is high in protein, contains no fat and is immuno-activating.     At
> the 1992 Lincoln County Mycological Show I was asked to identify three of the
> prettiest King boletes I’ve seen. I said sure, if I get the mushrooms. He
> agreed. The man estimated he had another 40 mushrooms in various stages of
> maturity littering his front lawn. Why is it always someone else’s lawn?  I
> told him Salishan Lodge might buy them for $10 per pound. I think he agreed
> the cost of identification was worth the price.   A single King bolete may
> produce 40 million spores. I believe it could be cultivated in stands of
> Ponderosa pine in Central and Eastern Oregon, and in Lodgepole pine or Sitka
> spruce stands of coastal Oregon.         The Queen bolete may be found in
> similar conditions. While it can be found at almost any elevation, it is more
> abundant on the cost. Expect $1-$10 per pound for the Queen. It is usually
> 1/2 to 1 pound in size.       The next fungus is deadly poisonous. Amanita
> virosa is a beautiful white to pale green mushroom. It is seldom larger than
> 1/4 pound and 6 inches high. Locally it is symbiotic with chestnut tres. For
> that reason it is important, as we will learn when discussing shiitake.
> Again, Amanita virosa is deadly. But is also contains muscimol, a pain-
> killer  as potent as morphine but non-addictive.        Muscimol may make
> Amanita virosa economic. A single mushroom can treat a cancer patient’s pain
> for several hours. Unlike Amanita virosa, muscimol is safe and non-addictive.
>    Armillariella mellea is known as Honey mushroom, after the color of the
> cap. It is also called Shoestring Root Rot. It’s one of the most abundant
> fungi in the Northwest today. I believe that is because clearcutting favors
> root-rot growth.  The Honey is found on soil in mycorrhizal symbiosis with
> hardwoods, or can be saprophytic on Bigleaf maple, Red alder, Oregon White
> oak, Lodgepole pine, Douglas fir, Western hemlock, cottonwoods, willows, true
> fir logs and snags. For unknown reasons this mushroom complex of several
> varieties can be either symbiotic, parasitic or saprophytic. During the Gypsy
> moth outbreak on the east coast several years ago, the Honey attacked
> weakened trees, resulting in a profussion of mushrooms a year after.
> Shoestring root rot derives from the strong root-like strands of fungal
> threads, called rhizomorphs, found beneath the bark of infected trees.  The
> Honey is closely related to the next mushroom. It’s officially the largest
> known organism on Earth today. You may have already heard of the Humongous
> Fungus or Monster Mushroom, as Armilariella ostoyae is now known. Mycologists
> theorized this was true for many years, but it required DNA testing to prove.
> The first was a Michigan fungus that covered 36 acres. It was quickly
> eclipsed by a Moses Lake, Washington fungus 2.5 miles in diameter. A Crater
> Lake specimen is now being tested with a radius of 15 miles. This fungus has
> only recently been identified. We don’t know if it is Shoestring Root Rot or
> not. Let us hope not.         The remaining fungi are saprophytes.
> Saprophytic fungi live by degrading stored energy in cellulose,
> hemicellulose, and lignin - better known as trees. Some fungi are
> generalists. They’ll eat anything. Other fungi eat specific wood parts. Some
> eat roots. Some cones. Some bark. Some needles. Some parasitize living
> needles, then produce insecticidal mycotoxins. Still other fungi grow on only
> certain species of wood.       Regardless of tree size, the cambium is eaten
> within a year of tree death. Parasitic insects such as bark and ambrosia
> beetles, carry fungal spores with them. They eat the growing fungus and
> degraded wood. These insects also like the cambium layer.        One
> spectacular old-growth fungus is the True Fir Hericium, sometimes called the
> Waterfall Hydnum. This photogenic fungi may form a mass 5 feet across,
> several feet high and deep. A single specimen may reach 100 pounds. Five to
> ten pound specimens are more common. As it’s name implies, it prefers true
> firs, and likes downed logs. Search for this fungi among Noble, Pacific
> Silver and White firs.   It’s relative, Hericium erinaceous, has strong
> possibilities for cultivation. Rock Hill Shiitake of Lebanon has been selling
> 200 lbs. per week in California for the past two years at $4 per pound.
> Hericium erinaceous is marketed under the name Pom Pom, but is also called
> Lion’s Head, Goat’s Beard, and Bear’s Head. The Chinese call it White Ghost’s
> Breath, and use it as a medicinal herb. It is strongly suspected of being
> immuno-activating. A few years ago, my legs would suddenly go asleep.
> Sometimes while I was walking. Not every day nor every step, but it became so
> frequent I was cautious of where I walked and what I did. Within a week of
> eating Hericium erinaceous for the first time, this symptom stopped as
> abruptly as it began.     A third, the Coral hericium, likes Douglas fir,
> Western hemlock and perhaps true firs. It is massive also, reaching 50
> pounds.  I assume most of you have already heard of shiitake, or Lentinus
> edodes. But the Northwest has a relative of shiitake, called Train Wrecker,
> for its affinity to eating “preserved” railroad ties. Train Wrecker forms
> huge mushrooms with a diameter of 20 inches or more. It fruits during summer
> and early fall in Central Oregon. I believe I saw it once, about 50 feet high
> in a standing snag near Detroit, Oregon. Southeast Asians are fond of its
> flavor when fresh. This indicates another market, similar to matsutake.
> As for shiitake, it means literally “mushroom of the shiia tree.” But what is
> the shiia tree? Chinese chestnut. Chestnuts are oaks that resemble our native
> chinquapin. Other tree species for growing shiitake include white oaks,
> maple, Red alder, birch and hickory. Maple is used mostly for sawdust
> cultivation.  The preferred shiitake bed log is 2-8 inches in diameter, lacks
> side branches, and is nearly straight. Any length log can be used if
> inoculated where it falls. Selection is a function of weight.      A 4-foot,
> 8-inch diameter fresh-cut oak log weighs about 120 pounds. Larger diameter
> logs are difficult to inoculated quickly. Shiitake will also spread to
> untreated Douglas fir lumber and conifer lathes. But I know of no fruitings
> on this substrate.      Most of the world’s shiitake is produced on sterlized
> sawdust-bran blocks, like this. This block conains about 1 cent  worth of
> sawdust. It will produce about $10 worth of mushrooms. This block is in its
> first flush. It may produce another six or seven over the next six months.
> The remaining materials make wonderful soil enhancer.    Modern tree farms
> are orchards.Their abundant single-species biomass attracts parasites.
> Multi-species orchards provide diversity and decrease parasites. Diversity
> also multiples the number of marketable crops.      Consider the following
> plantation plan. It includes a ratio of 1 Douglas fir to 2 Red alder to 1
> chestnut. The Red alder buffers both fir and chestnut. All three trees are
> associated with trufles and false truffles. All grow rapidly with each other.
> All have lumber potential. All grow up to 8 feet per year. Red alder grows
> fastest, and increases the growth of nearby Douglas fir. At 4 to 10 inches
> diameter, Red alder can be thinned or culled for shiitake production. A cord
> of Red alder produces about 3,000 pounds of shiitake worth $4 per pound
> locally. Chestnut is more valuable than Douglas fir for lumber. It produces
> clear hardwood which is resistant to most fungi. Once cut, chestnut
> regenerates from stumps. Chestnuts over 1,000 years old are known. The
> Japanese harvest shiitake logs from shiia plantations every 8 years, but
> seldom need to reforest.   J. Russell Smith in Tree Crops notes chestnuts
> produce more food value than a similar acreage of corn. And chestnuts like
> rocky, pool soil. Deer, turkey, bear, pigs and cattle eat chestnuts; along
> with squirrels, mice, goats and large birds like crows.    Grown on Oregon
> White oak and chestnut, shiitake produces around $12,000 per cord with
> shiitake at $4 per pound.        Maybe forestry for lumber alone is
> economically flawed. The above data offers food for thought, at least.
> According to work in progress, at least 5% of biomass needs to remain on the
> ground as woody debris more than 3 inches in diameter. This material could
> grow the next mushroom,  Laetiporus sulphureus, or Chicken of the Woods. The
> mushroom was featured in Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood, growing on old-growth
> beech. Chicken of the Woods likes oak, maple, and is especially fond of Sitka
> spruce, Douglas fir and Western hemlock here. The young growing tips are
> similar to chicken nuggets when slow-cooked in a crock pot. It fruits in late
> summer.    Chicken of the Woods can be utilized to control root rots. How?
> Root rots are adapted to slow, constant 55-degree in-soil growth. Almost any
> sparophytic fungi outgrows them. Growing Chicken of the Woods serves three
> purposes. It rejects root rot on stumps. It rots stumps faster. Farmers can
> harvest clumps of a mushroom up to 50 pounds apiece worth $4 per pound
> retail.      The same method can be used with Grifola frondosa, Hen of the
> Woods, in hardwood stands; or Sparassis radicata, the Cauliflower mushroom,
> in conifer stands.    Hen of the Woods weighs up to 60 pounds, and has been
> shown to reduce serum cholesterol levels. Recent data indicates Hen of the
> Woods is also effective against HIV in vitro. However, more testing needs to
> be done before it can be deemed an effective treatment.   An elk hunter in
> 1983 found an 86 pound Cauliflower msuhroom, along with 4 others weighing 20
> pounds apiece. He sold them for $6 per pound. He didn’t get an elk, but he
> did bag $960 bucks - not a bad day’s work in 1983.     Morels are a real
> Cinderella story. Do you want to hear a fairy tale, boys and girls? Once upon
> a time there was a young out-of-state college student. He found a morel
> patch. There were morels as far as the eye could see.  (Okay, he was myopic.)
> The struggling student knew in Minnesota, people would pay $16 a pound of
> rmorels, at least that’s what the newspaper article said.       So the
> student took a leave of absence, rented a refrigerated U-Haul truck, and
> picked morels. He picked and he picked. And picked some more. And when he was
> done he sold and sold. And sold some more. And he cleared enough money to go
> to college for 3 years. Unlike Cinderella, this is a true story.
> Mushroom, the Journal reported two patents have been granted for morel
> cultivation in the last five years. Neither infringes on your right to
> cultivate your own morels.        Morels are considered devastation
> mushrooms. They are common in clearcuts, after forest fires, landslides and
> eruptions. Morels were the first life form seen after Mt. St. Helens erupted.
> Within days.        Earlier this month I talked to Mike McCrystal of Falls
> City. He told me that several friends picked morels last year near
> Enterprise. In one day this group collected 2200 pounds of morels. They sold
> them to a mushroom broker the day after for $10,000 cash.        Oregon has
> at least three species of morels. One is found under conifers, especially
> Douglas fir. Another prefers oaks. The third is associated with cottonwoods
> and willow. This is good news if you own a hybrid cottonwood stand.    In the
> laboratory, morel mycelium grows faster than most other fungi. It can cross a
> petri dish in 3 days. Two years ago I inoculated a chipped debris trail with
> morels. Last March I harvested the first crop - 17 morels weighing about 1.5
> pounds.  Oyster mushrooms are non-specific saprophytes. They are found on
> cottonwood and other hardwood trees. To degrade hardwood stumps rapidly,
> spread oyster spawn on the cut stump. Cover with fresh newspaper, then a
> layer of plastic. Tie down. Wait two months then remove the plastic.
> Your first crop should fruit within a year.     Oyster mushrooms have a
> drawback. Oyster mushrooms can grow on your lungs. If you must grow it,
> cultivate it in well-ventilated areas or outside. Oyster mushrooms sell for
> $5 to $10 per pound, meaning $1.25 to $2.50 to the grower. Expect one pound
> of mushrooms for every dry pound of wood or other substrate. This fungus can
> turn straw into a choice, easily digestible fodder for cattle, chickens,
> pigs, sheep and horses. According to Paul Stamets, calves prefer it to
> alfalfa hay.       At $400 per dried pound, Ganoderma lucidum or Ling Zhi has
> potential. This is an ancient medicinal, used by Chinese for at least 2300
> years. It has been shown to be an immuno-activator, meaning it stimulates
> your body’s production of interferon. A January 14, 1993 Newsweek article
> claimed 50 Africans has been cured of AIDS after taking minescule doses of
> interferon.        Two scientific papers have been done on AIDS and
> interferon in the US. The first indicated interferon had no effect on the
> AIDS virus. The second was more specific. It shows that although interferon
> didn’t kill the virus, the virus didn’t replicate when interferon was
> present.   Chinese doctors often prescribe Ling Zhi. Although it may not
> help, it never harms. Unlike Oyster mushroom spores which die at about 101
> degrees F., Ling Zhi spores die around 89 degrees F.   Three species of
> Ganoderma are found in the U.S. Two are common in Oregon and Washington. I
> have grown both. I strongly suspect, and David Aurora agrees, that Ganoderma
> lucidum and our native Ganodermas are actually the same fungus growing on
> different substrates in different climates.  Grow your own Ling Zhi from
> Fungi Perfecti of Olympia, WA. for about $30. You can purchase Ling Zhi from
> the same source. Or your can collect it wild from August to November on
> Douglas fir and Western hemlock stumps. It is sometimes is called the Shellac
> Shelf for the shiny red to maroon surface of the fungus.         Blewitt,
> Washington is one of the few towns named for a mushroom. The Blewit is a
> conifer needle, twig and straw degrader. Prolific, it is relatively easy to
> identify and can be sold for about $4 per pound. It fruits from late autumn
> to early spring. I’ve grown it on both straw and Douglas fir needles.
> The last fungi is Stropharia rugosa-annulata, aka Giant Stropharia, aka
> Gartenreisse, aka Wine-Cap Stropharia. It doens’t last long, becomes wormy
> rapidly, and may die if temperatures drop to 20 degrees F.   Against that, it
> is large, flavorful and easy to cultivate on hardwood chips. It is especially
> fond of Red alder. Try selling it to specialty markets and restaurants for
> around $6 per pound. Since it fruits during the summer, it is not in
> competition with almost any other mushroom. It likes to have chip beds
> covered with about 6 inches of soil, making it attractive for raised-bed
> gardeners.       Although every tree farmer is a mushroom grower, not
> everyone is successful at etiher or both. When the Northwest Shiitake
> Association formed in 1987, about 200 people tried growing shiitake. Of this
> number, perhaps 20 were successful. Production of any fungi requires careful
> planning and marketing strategies.         To learn more about shiitake, join
> the Northwest Shiitake Association. Also buy and read Gorwing Shiitake by
> Paul Przybilowitcz, and The Mushroom Cultivator by Stamets and Chilton.
> Need to learn more about fungi? Read every mushroom book you can find.
> Memorize scientific names. Join the Oregon Mycological Society, the Mid-
> Willamette Mycological Society in Salem, or the Lincoln County Mycological
> Society in Lincoln City. Spend time with mushroom growers. Visit farms such
> as Rock Hill in Lebanon. Learn how to recognize fungi. Get involved.
> Subscribe the Mushroom the Journal. David Aurora’s Mushrooms Demystified  and
> All The Rain Promises are excellent resources.        To learn more about
> truffles, join the North American Truffling Society. Attend the monthly
> forages. Send in collections. Flyers for this organization are on the back
> table, or send a postcard to PO Box 296, Corvallis, OR 97330. This afternoon
> you can attend a forage and find a truffle yourself. Learn how to describe
> and submit truffles for free identification.     To learn about marketing
> mushrooms, contact Jerry Larson at the Oregon Department of Agriculture in
> Salem. Talk to mushroom buyers and sellers. Check want ads in your local
> paper to find mushroom buyers.     One last comment before I take questions.
> The first person who sells a poisonous mushroom that causes a death will a:
> be charged with manslaughter or murder; b: immediate depress all mushroom
> markets; c: probably be prosecuted, fined and sued to the full extent of the
> law. If you are going to sell mushrooms, be positive of your identification.
> Here is a simple key: Don’t sell what you wouldn’t eat yourself. There are
> many look-alikes.  Thank you for attending.        Any questions?
>         The following is an update for 1998: Italian White truffles this year,
> according to an e-mail from Tanith Tyrr of California, retailed for $2400 per
> pound.
> Posted as a courtesy by
> Daniel B. Wheeler
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