Wild Mushroom Risotto and a Trip to Fred Treadway’s Mushroom Farm in Madison County, North Carolina
If you are not familiar with how mushrooms are farmed on logs, here is a brief lesson. Fred has an area in the woods on his farm that is shaded and damp and he has stream that runs through there to keep things moist.
He soaks all eighteen hundred logs beginning in the Spring and then will repeat this process every two to three months to keep them moist throughout the growing season. They will sit in a tank full of fresh water for twenty-four hours.
The next process is incredibly tedious. There are forty holes drilled into every log in a particular pattern. Spawn (mushroom spore mixture) is placed in the holes with a plunger. It is then sealed with cheese wax. This becomes the root system for the mushrooms. The logs are then placed in the moist, wooded area. If it is colder weather, he will cover them.
In three to four days (and even faster when it’s warmer) Voila! you have baby mushrooms. They will get cut from the logs once they are fully grown. This process will continue until November.
In addition to the Shiitakes, Fred grows some Golden Oysters which are from Asia (the White Oyster Mushrooms are American in origin). He says that they have only a 1-2 day life, so they need to be cut from the logs quickly.