Why Grow Mushrooms?
Mushrooms are delicious protein.
Their flavors and textures are unusual, and bring a whole new dimension to ordinary dishes. Pizza and spaghetti become a gourmet experience with the addition of mushroom Stir Fries. Mexican food, barbecues, and shish-kebab are all delicious with mushrooms. Whether you want to grow a few mushrooms at home or become a commercial producer, you will find a variety of flavors and textures as well as a surprising array of health benefits in these versatile fungi.
But are mushrooms really nutritious?
Yes! For example, Shiitake is 13 - 18% protein by dry weight, high in the amino acids leucine and lysine (scarce in most grains), and has a significant complement of minerals and vitamins. Many other mushrooms are equally nutritious. The familiar Oyster can be grown in straw, sawdust, coffee grounds, and any number of agricultural waste products. Because of this versatility, the Oyster species have a good potential for alleviating hunger in poor regions around the world.
Mushrooms are the ultimate health food.
Some mushrooms are powerful immune stimulants. In Japan, extracts of Shiitake are routinely used for cancer prevention, and as adjuncts to chemo and radiation therapies. The polypore Reisha, and the delicious Maitake (Hen of the Woods), have been shown in clinical studies to produce remarkable benefits for the immune system, in addition to having cholesterol-lowering effects. One of the most powerful immune stimulants is AHCC, which is an extract of a triple mushroom liquid culture in rice bran. One of the mushrooms in AHCC is Shiitake.
The immune stimulating property of mushrooms is not too surprising, since in nature, the familiar antibiotics are made by fungi to compete against the huge variety of microorganisms in the soil.
Mushrooms are ecologically important.
Plants need fungi to live and prosper. While plants perform the daily miracle of transforming sunlight, water and carbon dioxide in the air into sugar, starch, and cellulose via photosynthesis, they cannot break down inorganic materials (e.g. rock). On the other hand, the fungi lack chlorophyll and so cannot synthesize carbohydrates (sugars and starches), but they can easily break down inorganic minerals into the soluble nitrates, phosphates, and sulfates that are essential to plants. Plants have co-evolved with fungi for aeons in this type of "mycorrhizal" symbiosis. Without fungi, plants die. Without plants, fungi cannot thrive.
Mushrooms are a sustainable forest product.
One way to preserve forests is by making them cost-effective. In 1991, Mushroom People moved to the hardwood forests of Tennessee, a cultivator's paradise. In this are, which is plagued with chip mills and clearcuts, we show our neighbors that growing Shiitake can be profitable. Using sustainable tree harvesting methods, we benefit the woods by releasing crowded healthy trees from excessive competition with nearby ones, thus attaining a climax forest sooner than Nature would alone.
Mushroom People is North America's oldest supplier for specialty mushroom growers. Our business is built on consistent, high-yield mushroom spawn, good advice, and fast, reliable service.
Our focus is on Shiitake, the well-known Japanese forest mushroom. The most successful Shiitake mushroom growers in North America are still small family-owned farms using hardwood logs. Shiitake grown in hardwood logs is the highest quality product, competing successfully with large commercial growers that use artificial substrate.
Shiitake is also a great addition to any family garden or kitchen. Growing your own sustainable, healthy food helps individuals and families become more self-sufficient, and helps improve our forests, environment, and the planet.