I currently have Black Morels, Lions Mane and Maitake casings. But I fear I may have spoiled the crops, as the environment they were in fluctuated high and low due to weather, and other external reasons. But I will try again in a few months.
Last minute funding came in, not much, but enough to cover supplies for a new limited run. Since I will keep going, I will continue to use GoFundMe.com for raising additional startup funds for expanding to include new employees.
One of three casings has gone bad. It was doing fine, but then developed a type of spider fungus. Threads that looked like grey hair covered 1/3 of the casing. I have removed it, and now keep a closer eye on the others. The brf test cakes still look good, if all the pins on them develop then in theory I should see a pretty good crop from them. I'll be interested to see how they do with the first and second flush.
Started a casing of Black Morels - but I do not expect results with it for at least 2-4 months. Should also have a limited supply of Reishi and Shiitake in the next couple of weeks to sell to help generate some income to get more supplies or expand.
Alaska Mushroom is reaching a critical time of year. The batch I was working on became contaminated due to a high level of airbourne mold. Short of getting high volume air purifiers, all experiments will have to be placed on hold. And with temperatures dropping to 34 degrees yesterday, everything now has to be done inside. During the summer I can open the windows and have a decent temp in the house. Cannot do that in the winter. It is my personal thought that there must be mold in the ceiling or walls, to have enough to effect mushroom spawn but not so much for us. Here are some Shiitake and Reishi photos to show the damage. At this point I may have to put the entire business on hold until better weather in February or March (unless the business can relocate to a place where better control can be done to prevent this).
If everyone who sees this donated $5.00 (less than a meal at Subway) Alaska Mushrooms could purchase a 3-5 acre property, with buildings that can be easily upgraded to prevent what you see in those photos, and I could hire some folks to help get product to market.
Today and tomorrow, I will be running experiments with cloning. There are two methods of cloning (if you do not consider the petri dish method. Taking some of the mushroom flesh from inside the stalk and the soft underbelly of the cap where the gills are. It is the gills that have spores that drop when the mushroom opens. I will be trying both methods with Rye Grain and BRF mixture.
Also if time permits, I may make up some more jars. But first I think the Shiitake may be ready for the incubator. I will take them and place them in a seed tray with dome, and see how it goes.
Winter is nearly here, todays temperature was a cool 42 degrees f. A few more weeks, and we'll only be able to do indoor farming. So please consider helping us to get this going, even if we miss the season completely, we can still get things ready for the winter to break next spring.
So, I have Reishi and Shiitake that looks promising. I was thinking that instead of selling them, I could prepare them (take some not cooked as well) and let people taste them at the farmers markets and state fairs.
One other benefit, the opportunity to take the business at a later date from sole-ownership to employee owned. Lets face it, I am getting old, no offspring to leave it to, and personally I would want the people who made the business successful to be the beneficiaries of the business.
Being a customer service rep for as long as I have, and years of working for someone else. I have worked out the following: To be successful in business there are two factions - us and the customer. If either one falters, it could mean the ruin of any business. My rules for business are simple. Take care of the employees, and they will in turn take care of the customer.
Company benefits and guidelines for employees would be:
1. Good solid wage (I am after all asking them to play in the horse poo).
2. Require each employee to do one day of volunteer work in the community - for which they will be paid a days wages.
3. Medical and Dental benefits for employees, spouse and children. Even 50% of eyeglasses.
4. Vacation time will be based on length of service. ex: 3 days for 0-6 months, 1 week for a yr, 2 weeks for 3+ yrs.
5. A work environment that allows for changeup so no one feels trapped in a routine job.
6. Day care for pre-schoolers in a safe environment on company premises.
7. Appropriate attire will be supplied in different aspects of duties. Lab coats, jumper coveralls, heavy dear for winter work.
8. Employee lunchroom and restroom facilities, as well as a place to shower before and/or after a shift.
This is just a jump off point, but you get the idea of where it is going. Employees would be expected to perform a wide variety of things, from mixing the poo, turning compost, lab work, picking, cleaning work areas and facilities available to them, product quality and testers, man booths at local farmers market and state fairs, and others.
Expand the business and hire on a couple people to start larger scale production, every 2-3 days we could start a new batch, it takes almost that long just in the preparation process. At first, I can create the mushroom spawn by cloning local edible mushrooms (lions, mane, morels, oysters, chicken of the woods, and possibly some wild reishi). Cloning can be done reasonably easy, or using a cardboard method of growing spawn. The hardest (for me) is the process of taking spores and introducing them to a substrate material, that can be LATER used for the spawning process. This takes unbelievably long to accomplish.
While scouting out for a place, I can be producing the spawn here. By the time everything is in place, I should have a nice stock-pile to work with.
USDA Reports on Mushrooms, including importing, exporting, fresh, prepared (canned), wholesale pricing, frozen, and alot more dealing with JUST mushrooms. Take a peek, and you will realize that this endeavor has merit, and so much in the way of potential.
When storing mushrooms, you can keep them fresher by placing them in a paper bag in the fridge. Dehydrating them is actually best for long term storage, they come back to normal when placed in a bowl with warm water for about 20-25 seconds.
The first 2 pics are of the jars after being placed in the tote, and covered to promote growth. Although there are holes drilled in the tote, you need to take the lid off at least once or twice a day for fresh air. The third is the bag that the Shiitake Spawn Plug comes already packed with cheese wax and 100 plugs. You can find them on Amazon.
These are birch logs, they are cut, let to cure @ 30 days, then plugs are inserted and sealed with a vegetable based wax. Then placed outdoors (stacked or loose) for the following year. If done correctly, the logs can produce several harvests for about 3-4 years before exhausting the spawn.
This season is nearly over for prepping for 2014 outdoor crop. Logs should be prepared with mycilium plugs for next summer, the spawn will germinate and spread throughout the log and produce after winter.
If you would like information on ordering our products please use the above email address.
Orders (when product is available) can be placed via email, and payment can be made at time of delivery, via check made out to Alaska Mushrooms. A shopping cart will be added later so you can purchase online.
We are currently in development phase and start-up. Please keep an eye on the website as products will be listed when available. Funding is difficult, and I am running out of available funds to continue much longer. I am reaching out to the public and asking for donations to help, for as little as $1.00 you can help to make this a reality.
(or if you do not wish to use a credit card, you may mail the donation to the address below - checks should be made out to Alaska Mushrooms.)
1030 West 26th Ave # 2
Anchorage, Alaska 99503
I would like to thank you for visiting this page. It is my hope to be able to start a company and be able to see results in the community, not only in their diets, but also in a drop in the local employment arena.
By buying from Alaska Mushrooms, you will also be helping out local residents and other local businesses. I know that is a small drop in the bucket, but by focusing our efforts into hiring, purchasing and supporting local companies we can fill that bucket up much faster. Every drop is as important as another.
Everywhere you look it gets harder and harder for people to find work. With all the companies that have moved to Europe and South America, it has left a large gap of people who no longer have work. My thinking is we need to support more local companies and leave the ones who moved out of the USA. We need to provide for our own.
At first I was going to start growing mushrooms on a small scale, and sell to friends and family. Then expand into the farmers market here in Anchorage. Once a good foot hold is in place grow more and open a market in public kitchens, caterers and grocers.
I have obtained my State License, Employer ID Number, set up banking accounts and have some basic advertising with Google and Facebook ready to go. Still working out the setup, I will be turning a bedroom into a room that is cleaned, sterile and has the ability to control the environment. I will start with oyster mushrooms and abm's (white button mushrooms) too. The reason I want to start with oysters is because there is a very wide variety of oyster mushrooms. I was hoping to start growing morels. But that does require being able to make a garden for them.
I have some of the basic starting elements, and some equipment. Enough to possibly bring in the first crop. Its getting late in the season to start prepping logs for some of the other strains I want to start. They include,
Rieshi - Shiitake - Maitake, and Lion's Mane.
As I said the Morels will have to wait for next summer to start. Soil has to be prepared and fenced in to protect from critters moving about.
Ideally, a room that can be sealed off, evironmentally controlled climate (temp and humidity) would need to be precise. I am living in a rental apartment, so I am looking for a place to buy in my price range. Setting up a larger area, a basement, or two car garage, either would have to be heated and insulated appropriately. For now the bedroom will suffice. I have a counter, desk and storage set aside for it. As well as a 2 station electric burner, for operating the pressure cooker, and sterilizing materials.
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