Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Shiitake Mushroom Farm in Perkins

Lost Creek Mushroom Farm
Originally uploaded by FreeWine.
A Fungus Among Us for Christmas

I must admit that the recent bad weather, combined with the seasonal round of colds, has kept our family from enjoying many adventures lately. Since we have started to get a little cabin fever, Dianne and I decided to use our Christmas shopping excursions to see a little more of the diverse wonderland that is Oklahoma.

For the most part, we shop online extensively before venturing out to actually start buying. While I was searching Amazon's massive inventory for gourmet coffee gifts and paddling gear I stumbled across a vendor selling Shiitake mushroom innoculated logs. My Dad gave us a few Shiitake logs one year and we enjoyed having the ample supply of tasty, healthful mushrooms. We pretty much just kicked them out into shady parts of the yard and let the rain water them. This was several years ago back when it used to rain occasionally in the Sooner State. Even being totally ignorant about how to care for them, we raised many pounds of shiitake mushrooms.

I was excited about finding a new source for Shiitake logs, but even more excited by the opportunity to have Amazon manage shipping them for me! Even better, when I researched the seller I learned that these were Made-in-Oklahoma Shiitake Mushroom logs! Once I told Dianne she insisted that we make an Oklahoma Road Trip out to visit the Lost Creek Mushroom Farm in Perkins, Oklahoma.

We met Sondra Williams, one of the owners, at the Lost Creek Mushroom Farm and she was kind enough to walk us through the process of creating the innoculated logs. She also took us through her greenhouse and their Strawbale Construction Barn. It was fascinating to learn how this Oklahoma couple launched their own small business that helps people, is not harmful to the environment, and requires such an amazingly low level of technology.

Both Sondra and her husband Doug have become fountains of interesting shiitake facts and lore. Sondra explained to us that shiitake mushroom sold in most stores are grown in sawdust rather than logs. This makes them cheaper to produce but less healthy and flavorful. Here's something else Lost Creek taught us about the health benefits of shiitake mushrooms:

Shiitake Mushrooms have natural antiviral and immunity-boosting properties and are used nutritionally to fight viruses, lower cholesterol and regulate blood pressure. Lentinan, an immunostimulant derived from shiitakes, has been used to treat cancer, AIDS, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibrocystic breast disease, and other conditions with impressive results. Researchers S. Suzuki and Oshima found that a raw shiitake eaten daily for one week lowered serum cholesterol by 12%. -- http://shiitakemushroomlog.com/facts&nutrition.html

Like my Dad's Elderberry Wine, this is an agricultural niche product that is well suited for the extra attention that only a small business can offer. Unlike Dad's Elderberry Wine, the Shiitake Mushroom Logs from Lost Creek Farm are Made-in-Oklahoma products that can be sold and shipped nationwide. The Williams family provides the low tech, land and labor while Amazon provides the high tech infrastructure for this 24/7 fungus marketplace.

Visit their website to learn more about the amazing Shiitake Mushroom.

14-15" Shiitake Mushroom Log with Soaking Tray

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