Is There a Fungus in Your Future?

Learn about cultivating specialty mushrooms at December conference.

Published on: Nov 11, 2009
Individuals or business owners who are interested in producing specialty mushrooms for use in restaurants or direct-to-consumer sales can learn about growing their crops and their operations during a Dec. 5 conference at the Kettunen Center in Tustin.

The  9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. conference is designed for everyone from first-time mushroom growers to experienced producers. They will get information and tools to build new businesses or to expand existing mushroom production enterprises.

Concurrent workshops will focus on shiitake growing for the beginner, indoor cultivating and growing of specialty mushrooms, forest management for mushroom production and business planning for mushroom operations. There will be a mushroom trade show throughout the day.

"We've heard from lots of people who are interested in growing mushrooms," said George Silva, Eaton County MSU Extension educator and conference coordinator. "Some of them have requested information on starting businesses selling specialty mushrooms to restaurants and farm markets. In response, we organized this event to give people the chance to get information and hear from several well-known mushroom experts."

Keynote speaker Nicola MacPherson, co-owner of Missouri's Ozark Forest Mushrooms, will talk about shitake production and how she and partner Dan Hellmuth built a specialty mushroom business that supplies upscale restaurants, farm markets and consumers via in-person and Web-based sales.

The $75 registration fee is due Dec. 3. Participants can download the registration brochure at web1.msue.msu.edu/eaton/SMC.pdf. For more information, call the Eaton County Michigan State University Extension Office at 517-543-2310.

"Cultivation of Shiitake and Other Specialty Mushrooms" is sponsored by Field and Forest Products of Wisconsin; the Shiitake Growers Association of Wisconsin; Mitchell Hill Farm, Ellsworth, Mich.; and Eaton County MSU Extension.