We grow more than just berries on our farm, and in keeping with our love for unique foods, we added shiitake mushrooms about 25 years ago. If you aren't a convert yet, give them a try. Shiitake mushrooms are so flavorful that you'll find many other mushrooms bland by comparison. The price is higher, but because of the more robust flavor, you won't need as many.
Anyway, shiitakes are forest mushrooms, which grow on oak logs, plentiful in our area of the Ozarks. Shiitakes fruit after a soaking and when the temperatures are between 50 and 70 degrees. We create these conditions in our shiitake fruiting house to produce mushrooms year round, but most of our logs are outdoors in a wooded area we call the laying yard. When conditions are right in our laying yard, they produce on their own. This week, a soaking rain and cooler temps triggered growth and mushrooms were all over the logs. We picked 88 pounds of these volunteers, as Earnie calls them, yesterday!
We happened to be hosting the Missouri Master Gardeners at the farm for a tour of the mushroom operation, so the fruiting was right on time. We also had a lunch for them which included Cream of Shiitake Mushroom Soup. They loved it. Your family will too. We made soup for 70 people, but this recipe is cut down to serve 4. Enjoy it! Find the recipe here: