EDMOND — Shiitake and other gourmet mushrooms are being grown inside a converted semitrailer, a unique agriculture venture showcased Saturday with help from the state Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.
Curious onlookers received tours of the facility, owned by Oklahoma Mushroom, where shiitake, lion's mane, white elm and other varieties of mushrooms are cultivated. The mushrooms are sold to local chefs and at Urban Agrarian, a local food distributor in Oklahoma City.
OM Gardens in Norman created the experimental mushroom farm using an agricultural enhancement and diversification grant from the Agriculture Department. Heather Popowsky of Oklahoma Mushroom later bought the equipment.
Formerly a refrigerated semitrailer, the mushroom farm model is attractive for several reasons, Popowsky said. It is a controlled-climate facility and is well insulated. “We keep the trailer at certain temperatures and at a certain humidity level. This is a very controlled, very sterile environment,” she said.
To duplicate it would cost about $50,000, and it has a small footprint, added Jason Harvey, grants coordinator for the Agriculture Department.
A mushroom farm doesn't require a large acreage to get started. It is appealing to producers looking for a year-round source of supplemental income.
Mushrooms cultivate in 8 to 10 weeks, with some varieties in as little as two weeks, Popowsky said. At full production, she expects her farm to produce close to 200 pounds every week.
She said there is a robust market for local mushrooms. “These are very appealing mushrooms to even the home gourmet cook,” she said.
Oklahoma Mushroom also supplies area restaurants such as The Coach House, La Baguette, Bellini's Ristorante & Grill, West and Local.
About 25 people attended the tours, held Saturday afternoon in Edmond.
John Larsen, of Bethany, and his wife, Kathy, went out of curiosity. Both retired, they have no experience in agricultural but enjoyed learning about the process.
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