Collecting Shiitake Mushroom Logs

tractor in the farm's mushroom yard

Last I wrote, William, Ryan and I were getting ready to cut our logs for shiitake mushroom inoculation. There were a few trees on the farm side of the road that were left from last year that I dropped, then cut and hauled down to the mushroom yard on Monday. Tuesday was sunny and beautiful so we decided that was the day to get for more shiitake logs collected.

Julie, previous to that day, had gone out and marked beech and sugar maple trees for us. It’s not a random marking of trees just to get the logs but an art of looking at trees that are crowding out other more mature trees or ones with some sort of defect that need to be removed. She has a real sense to seeing that. She marked about 40 trees to get us started. Out goal was 500 three foot logs.

We spent all day Tuesday dropping trees, marking them with paint at three foot lengths, cutting them in sections, then taking the logs to the mushroom yard with the tractor.

The most important part of the shiitake work is getting the trees down before the buds start to swell on the trees. If we start too late in the spring the spawn doesn’t colonize the log properly and our harvest suffers. We have had low production the last couple years, as you may have noticed at the market, because either spring has been earlier or we’ve been slow to get out in the woods to gather our logs. We got logs a month earlier this year and were done collecting logs by March 6th.

We got a great start Tuesday, but needed another day. The next day had rain in the forecast, but we decided to forge ahead anyway. Well, it indeed rained, light but steady the whole day. We were able to complete the process and got all the shiitake logs down to the yard by the end of the second day. We were wet and exhausted, but glad this part of the process was complete.

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