Harvesting the Crop

Mushroom Growing 4 You

Growing Mushrooms at Home

Get Instant Access

Simple guidelines prevail in the proper harvesting nd storing of mushrooms First, young must :rooms last much longer after harvest than aged mushrooms. Once spores have developed o 1 the face of the gills, perishability is accelerated. If mushrooms have partial veils, like the Button Mushroom (Agaricus brunnescens) >r the Black Poplar Mushroom (Agrocyke aegerita), they are best picked while the partial ve;' i are intact, in other words when the mushrooms are still young Partial veils protect the gills, limiting moisture loss, preventing spore release, and rupture only as the caps expand.

The cultivator must constantly countei ... ance maximum yield with marketability. The comment I most often hear, after presenting my Oyster mushrooms to a distributor who las been purchasing them from afar, is "I didn't

Figure 376. Harvesting clusters of a coid -veatlicr, di k Oyster strain. This strain is popular China and Japan.

Figure 377. Harvesting Paddy Strav.' mushrooms in Thailand.

know Oyster mushrooms could look like this!" Because Oyster mushrooms readily suffer from shipping and handling, local producers can easily usurp the markets of distant growers. Oyste mushrooms have a functional lifespan of only 5 days, after which marketability drastically declines.

Another rule is that clusters yield, pound for pound, higher quality mushrooms than mushrooms grown individually. Bouquets of mushrooms have obvious advantages, both from the point of view of harvesting as well as marketing. They can be picked ith ease, need ing min'mum handling and trimn ing Once harvested, the muslirooms protect one another by being bunched together. Harvesting mushrooms in clusters limits the damage causedby individual loose mushrooms jostli ng against one another subsequent to harvest. Most importantly bouquets, at the ideal stage for harvest, are composed of

HARVESTING. STORING AND PACKING 425

-IL ■ ".»1 J ». ! -r. . J ' -------— - ;.-- . . . L .

Figure 379. Four strains of Pleurotus ostreatus, in 5 lb. boxes, ready for delivery to restaurants.

Figure 378. Bouquets of Pleurotus ostreatus are easy to harvest and have an extended shelf life. The bouquets usually snap off, originating from small, localized points of formation.

Figure 379. Four strains of Pleurotus ostreatus, in 5 lb. boxes, ready for delivery to restaurants.

scribeo f th:s book can be harvested as bouquets.

Each species passes through an ideal stage as the mushrooms mature. For most species, the ideal stage is when the caps are still convex and before flattening out. At some magic moment in the maturity of a mushroom, the mushroom changes in its form while not appreciably in creasing in its mass. Cultivators have long noted that the flesh of a mushroom at the "drumstick" stage is much thicker than when the mushroom is fully mature. The ioss of flesh, directly above the gills to the top of the cap, appears to be re-proportioned to the expand'ng cap margin and the extension of the spore-producing gills. No real advantage, in terms of weight, is realized in p:cking a fully mature mushroom versus one tha> :s a mature adolescent. In fact, mature adolescents store longer and taste better.

The ideal stage for harvest of each species is describec in Chapter 21 under each species' growth parameters Please refer to that chapter for helpful hints11 harvesting. Since cropping ' s labor intensive, more efficient harvesting methods are always being explored. Cropping mushrooms in the most cost-effective manner largely depends on the structure of the fruiting frames. In Holland, mechanical harvesters have been devised to

Figure 378. Bouquets of Pleurotus ostreatus are easy to harvest and have an extended shelf life. The bouquets usually snap off, originating from small, localized points of formation.

younger mushrooms. Mushroom bouquets can be sold much like broccoli. All these features combined extend shelf life far beyond that of individual mushrooms and make clusters highly desirable. All the gilled mushrooms de-

harvest mushrooms from horizontal beds, eliminating the largest labor contingent in a mushroom farm—the pickers.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Building Your Own Greenhouse

Building Your Own Greenhouse

You Might Just End Up Spending More Time In Planning Your Greenhouse Than Your Home Don’t Blame Us If Your Wife Gets Mad. Don't Be A Conventional Greenhouse Dreamer! Come Out Of The Mould, Build Your Own And Let Your Greenhouse Give A Better Yield Than Any Other In Town! Discover How You Can Start Your Own Greenhouse With Healthier Plants… Anytime Of The Year!

Get My Free Ebook


Responses

  • Jeanne
    Is harvesting drugs have intensive labor?
    1 year ago

Post a comment