The  Lab

  • This consists of a clean-room, using a positively pressurized tent. This uses several HEPA filters to scrub the air. Here we work our magic growing tissue cultures on petri dishes of agar.
  • The other half of the lab is where we sterilize and store cultures used for inoculation.
Brent in the Lab clean room with Agar culture

Production of grain ‘spawn’

  • Once a petri dish has been fully colonised it is transferred onto grain Spawn.
  • This initial ‘spawn master (a single gar) takes about 2 weeks to be ready and is then used to innoculate 2nd generation spawn.
  • A single master will innoculate 6 2ng generation jars.
  • A single 2nd generation jar is then used to innoculate the final 2.5kg grain spawn in a bag.
  • All of this process requires all materials to be sterilized in an autoclave.
  • We store the colonising spawn in incubators which are set to about 25celcesis.
Mushroom spawn on grain incubating

Inoculation/Incubation area

  • This is an extension of the lab and where we make bulk substrate, inoculate it with cultures, and where the ‘bags’ incubate.
  • For oysters Usually, this takes about 14 days before the bag starts pinning
  • Shiitake take about 3 months. Once they start pinning we move them into the grow.
  • This area is so well insulated that in the winter the heat generated from the colonising bags will warm it so much that we require very little supplemental heating in winter.
Liam in incubation room

The ‘grow’

  • This is where the mushrooms finally fruit. Our grow rooms consist of three 20 foot insulated ‘reefer’ containers, and each container is capable of producing about 25kg of fresh mushrooms a week.
  • Here the mushrooms need a fairly constant temperature of about 25degrees and high humidity.
  • The insulated shipping containers, are lined in stainless steel, and with 100mm insulation, offer a perfect environment.
Inside the grow rooms

The Harvest

  • Once a bag starts pinning is generally only needs about 5 days in the grow room until it’s ready for harvest.
  • To do this we generally just gently pull and twist the entire cluster out.
  • Once a bag is harvested it will be dormant for a couple of weeks, and then start pinning again.
  • We repeat this cycle about 3 or for times, where the yield goes down.
  • We then ‘retire’ the bag onto the compost heap where it will produce heat (as it decomposes) and this heat used to heat the grow room in winter.
Harvesting oyster mushrooms
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