Support African Mushroom Farmers: Surprise The Mushroom Lovers On Your Gift List With A Shiitake Mushroom Log

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Gardeners, goumets, mushroom lovers -- what's the pefect gift? A shiitake mushroom log that gives organic shiitake mushrooms for years and gives West African mushroom farmers a way to make a living. A portion of the proceeds from Lost Creek Mushroom Farm's sales go to Mushrooms in Ghana, a project to support oyster mushroom farmers in West Africa. The project is the dream-child of Sandra and Doug Williams, owners of Lost Creek and Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers in Ghana, to help BemCom Youth Enterprises/Association introduce the protein-rich shiitakes into Ghanaian non-traditional agriculture and the Ghanaian diet.

Your friends, your children, your parents have everything. They love good food. They love gardening. Most especially, they love mushrooms. They have social consciousness, and so do you.

What's the perfect gift? A shiitake mushroom log kit that grows gourmet mushrooms every two months for 3-5 years and grows indoors along with houseplants or outdoors in shade. For Lost Creek Mushroom Farm every log bought means dollars donated to Mushrooms in Ghana Project, helping mushroom farmers in West Africa to make living by growing their own shiitake mushroom logs.

To make a shiitake log produce, or "fruit," soak it in non-chlorinated ice water and harvest your fresh, organic shiitakes 6-8 days later. Soak it every two weeks in non-chlorinated room-temperature water. Two logs, such as the Ma & Pa Shiitake Log Kit, will sprout a crop every month by alternating the producing log. Prices range from $16.95 for a 6-inch 'Shroomie up to $76.00 for a pair of 14-inch logs in their own soaking trays, with plenty of options in between.

Kits include a ready-to-grow hardwood log, instructions, and eight recipes. Logs 8 inches or larger are fully guaranteed to produce. The Shiitake Sampler Cookbook adds over 50 shiitake recipes for $7.95. Lost Creek Mushroom Farm gift items include Mild and Hot Shiitake Gift Baskets.

Order or request a free brochure by phone, call 1-800-792-0053. Order online at http://www.shiitakemushroomlog.com or on Amazon.com at slightly higher prices; or by mail to Lost Creek Mushroom Farm, PO Box 520, Perkins, OK 74059.

Shiitakes grown on all-natural hardwood logs have been around since the 1940s. They're the second-most consumed mushroom in the world, known for their meaty texture and deep flavor. Log-grown shiitakes are highly prized for their nutritional and medicinal qualities because they stimulate and strengthen the immune system. Low in fat and high in protein, they can be a God-send for a country where meat is expensive and children are dying from protein-deficiency disease.

Ma & Pa Shiitake, Doug and Sandra Williams, have been growing shiitakes since 1986 and started Lost Creek Mushroom Farm in 1993. It was Sandra's dream to turn the farm toward helping others. "This year we are finally more than a business, we are a fundraiser and focal point for Mushrooms in Ghana, supporting the oyster mushroom industry and assisting with the introduction of protein-rich, log-grown shiitakes to Ghanaian farmers and the Ghanaian diet."

The Williams's traveled to Ghana in 2007 as Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers. They worked with Bernard Bempah at the non-profit BemCom Youth Enterprises/Association , a research, resource, and training center for non-traditional agriculture. BemCom trains about 500 mushroom farmers a year. Bernard wants to bring shiitakes to Ghana. At present farmers are relying on a single crop, oyster mushrooms, for their income. Normally oyster mushrooms grow easily and plentifully; but for the last several years, a nation-wide bout of contamination created losses as high as 60%, and many growers went under.

For BemCom to add shiitakes to the training program means that farmers can diversify and expand production, creating more income. Shiitakes are cheaper and easier to grow and require less labor and less water than oyster mushrooms. They are hardy and resistant to contamination and disease.

The Williams's have partnered with the The Magical Child Foundation] to accept tax-free contributions for Mushrooms in Ghana Project. To make an online contribution visit http://www.magicalchild.org or mail contributions made out to Magical Child Foundation to Mushrooms in Ghana, PO Box 520, Perkins, OK, 74059.

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SANDRA WILLIAMS
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