2021 - Volume #45, Issue #1, Page #06[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Grow-It-Yourself Mushroom Kits
“We had to pivot to the retail market,” says Jent. “We are pretty darn good at growing mushrooms, so we figured we could teach others.”
Jent and Cohen took the knowledge and technology they had gathered and turned it into grow-it-yourself kits. In particular, they avoided problems Jent had experienced with kits he had bought.
“Mycelia are sensitive to light, temperature, humidity and CO2 levels,” says Jent.
He explains that vacuum-sealed kits choke the mycelia, which need to inhale oxygen and exhale CO2. He adds that mass-produced kits may go through a chain of 4 to 5 brokers and distributors, extending delivery and stressing the mycelium.
“We ship our kits direct to customers,” says Jent. “Plus, we use the same breathable filter patch on the kits as we use in our own production system.”
Jent reports having shipped kits across the country, all with minimal marketing.
Texas Fungus normally goes through 15 to 20 strains of mushrooms each year, depending on what their chef customers prefer. The kits are more limited, with most larger batches prepared for kits consisting of 4 to 5 strains. While they can differ in makeup, one popular strain throughout has been Lion’s Mane, known for its medicinal value.
“Lion’s Mane has been our number one seller,” says Jent. “The flavor is like lobster and crab with the texture of crab. However, most people buy it to grow their own medicine. It is extremely beneficial for recognitive brain health, rebuilding the central nervous system, preventing Alzheimer’s, and for depression. Plus, it is loaded with antioxidants.”
The Texas Fungus kits sell for $30 for a 4-lb. bag of spawn. The spawn is mycelia spores mixed with hardwood sawdust, soybean hulls, and millet with a few added nutrients. The company produces its own spawn. Yield depends largely on the strength of the strain, but the company aims for a base yield.
Jent notes that a Lion’s Mane kit should produce about a pound of mushrooms in the first flush, but may produce as much as a pound and a half.
After the first harvest, he advises soaking the kit in a 5-gal. bucket of water for half an hour. This repeats the process with a new flush of mushrooms.
“If you get a pound from the first flush, we’ve done our job,” says Jent. “If you get more, great. Our goal is to under-promise and over-deliver.”
The company is moving beyond fresh mushrooms and kits to offering pre-poured agar plates for people wanting to produce their own mushroom cultures. They also offer a humidity tent kit and mushroom growing classes at their farm.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Texas Fungus, 3201 E. Pioneer Pkwy., Suite #9, Arlington, Texas 76010 (ph 903 249-3224; www.texasfungus.com).
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