by Tom Huber
Who says you have to use complicated methods for cultivating mushrooms? Milton Tam previously demonstrated that there is an easier way to successfully grow mushrooms without having to pasteurize or sterilize the growing medium (substrate), purchase expensive equipment, build specialized grow rooms, or master complicated technical laboratory procedures.
The 2013 Special Issue: Mushrooms of the Pacific NW (Volume 6, No. 4) of FUNGI included an article on home cultivation of mushrooms by Milton Tam (Home Cultivator: Non-Sterile Cultivation of Oyster Mushrooms), which provided guidance on a much easier way to cultivate mushrooms on a small-scale. Milton’s simple approach combined with the success he reported cultivating oyster mushrooms were effective selling points for the non-professional mushroom grower. Shortly after the article was published, members of the Adirondack Mycology Club at Paul Smith’s College began conducting experimental trials based on Milton’s basic recipe.
The ADK Mycology Club was formed in 2011 and the club members are mostly PSC students pursuing a wide range of college majors – from Forestry to Environmental Science to Culinary Arts. Along with going on forays led mostly by club co-advisor Susan Hopkins, the club organizes a spring Art of Fungi show and a biannual ADK Fungi Fest in the fall. The college also offers two mycology courses: Mushrooms of the Adirondacks and ADK Fungi & Radical Mycology. Early on, the founding club members were interested in cultivating mushrooms both indoors and out. Outdoor cultivation consists mostly of log cultivation of cold-weather shiitake and Lion’s Mane. Since 2014, inspired by Milton Tam’s experiments, the club has made dozens of oyster kits on campus, at festivals, schools, and homes.