Shiitake Mushroom Log Kits are a Fun(gi) Gift for Gardeners

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Envision a chunk of a real tree standing upright among houseplants and popping out shiitakes, the brown and meaty king of gourmet mushrooms. This log will do that every two months for four years or more. Lost Creek Mushroom Farm (http://www.shiitakemushroomlog.com) offers a variety of shiitake mushroom log kits perfectly suited for gardeners, from a six-inch 'Shroomie that can slip into a Christmas stocking to a 20-inch log with its own soaking tray that can produce a quarter-pound of shiitakes or more in a single harvest. There's a Shiitake Sampler Cookbook, too. Christmas orders will arrive by December 22 in most states if the order is placed by December 16.

Envision a chunk of a real tree standing upright among houseplants and popping out shiitakes, the brown and meaty king of gourmet mushrooms. This log will do that every two months for four years or more.

Lost Creek Mushroom Farm (http://www.shiitakemushroomlog.com) offers a variety of shiitake mushroom log kits perfectly suited for gardeners, from a six-inch 'Shroomie that can slip into a Christmas stocking to a 20-inch log with its own soaking tray that can produce a quarter-pound of shiitakes and more in a single harvest.

"They're easy to grow and fun," according to professional fungus farmer Doug Williams, who has been growing shiitakes since 1987. "You soak a log in ice water and in 6-8 days you have mushrooms." A log needs room light, room temperature, and regular soaking. "It'll grow larger and larger crops as it matures," he said. "In the second and third year the log can be covered with mushrooms."

The logs are all-natural hardwoods such as oak, gum, cherry and hickory inoculated with shiitake spawn. The trees are cut in the winter when the sap is down. "We drill holes with a high-speed drill. We place shiitake spawn in the holes and seal the hole with wax. Then we give the logs plenty of water while the shiitake grows inside," Williams said.

It takes the shiitake log about a year to be ready to "fruit," or produce the mushrooms. "The logs are ready to fruit by the time the holiday season comes," he added. "They're actually eager to fruit when they get indoors and have warm temperatures, light and water," said Williams, who keeps the logs outdoors in greenhouses and a straw-bale building. Log will also grow outside in shady areas of the yard. "In spring and fall, the natural seasons for mushrooms, logs placed outdoors will produce large, beautiful shiitakes."

Kits are guaranteed to grow shiitakes and come with full instructions and recipes. Prices include shipping and handling.

Lost Creek Mushroom Farm has 10-inch log kits for $27.50 and Ma & Pa kits with two 10-inch logs so that gardeners and mushroom lovers can have shiitakes every month by alternating the producing log. The Ma & Pa Log kit sells for $47.50.

Kits with trays for soaking, fruiting and resting the log come 14-15 inches long for $38.50 and 19-20-inches long for $48.50. The stocking-stuffer 'Shroomie sells for $16.95. The 'Shroomie is also available in a mild or hot Shiitake Gift Basket at $45.00, along with dried log-grown shiitakes and Redbud Gourmet shiitake soups and dips and the Shiitake Sampler Cookbook.

The Shiitake Sampler Cookbook by Janet Bratkovich has 51 shiitake recipes for main dishes, vegetarian dishes, appetizers and more for $6.95 and can be included with a log kit for no additional shipping.

Christmas orders placed by December 16 will be delivered by December 22 with standard shipping, except for northern California and parts of Nevada, which will require expedited shipping.

Information and online ordering are available at http://www.shiitakemushroomlog.com and on Amazon.com. The number for phone orders is 1-800-792-0053. Mail orders should be sent to Lost Creek Mushroom Farm, PO Box 520, Perkins, OK 74059.

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SANDRA WILLIAMS
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