Introducing Four New Liquid Cultures!

Foraging for wild morels Morchella esculenta in BC Canada
Jessica and Sparky search for elusive wild morels!

The Biggest Selection in Canada is Growing Bigger

We are excited to announce our a new line of liquid cultures that will take your cultivation game to the next level.

By popular request, we bring you morels, cordyceps and brown beech mushrooms!

Liquid cultures syringes are full of mushroom mycelium growing in a nutrient broth.  The mushroom cultures can be injected into sterilized substrate through a special injection port bag or “airport” lid.  It’s an empowering way to make your own grain spawn, without investing in a flow hood.

Not One, But Two Kinds of Morels!

Few things top the thrill of finding a patch of wild morels!

These prized gourmet mushrooms are highly coveted in fine cuisine, and are found throughout Canada, but the art and science of growing your own has yet to be mastered.

Morel caps have a distinctive honeycomb appearance formed by a network of ridges and pits. The cap is fused to the hollow stock, and when the mushroom is sliced open, the interior is hollow from the cap right through the stalk.

Yellow Morel

Black Landscaping Morels

Morchella importuna

Black Morel Mushroom
Black Morel - Morchella importuna

The black morel has brown pits and blackening ridges, and lucky Canadians get a bonus surprise of black morels sprouting in their landscaping mulch, gardens, fire pits or any disturbed grounds in urban settings in the spring. In fact here at our farm, a few morels pop up annually under the elderberry bush and rhubarb patch.  

Yellow Morels

Morchella esculenta

Yellow Morel Mushroom
Yellow Morel - Morchella esculenta

The yellow morel cap ranges in colour from cream, yellow to pale brown or grayish brown. In contrast to black morels, the edges of the ridges are usually lighter than the pits.  They are found growing naturally in a wide variety of habitats across Canada, including forests, orchards, yards, gardens, recently burned areas or at the base of dying trees.

Can you Eat Raw Morels?

The toxicity of raw morels is well known and documented. It is generally an acute gastrointestinal syndrome with bloating, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. The chemical toxin causing this reaction is unknown. As far as we know it is NOT due to hydrazines. Not everyone is equally affected, but enough so that no one should eat raw morels

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Join the Quest to Grow Morels

Drawing from knowledge of the life cycle of morels, people have been attempting to grow morels for decades.  Recently, small scale farmers have had success growing morels in partially shaded rows of mulched wood over which they poured morel mushroom spores/mycelium in a solution of water and molasses.  After several weeks they poured wood ashes mixed in water over the rows to trigger fruiting of the morels. Morels are known to appear after fires and the alkaline conditions produced by wood ash mixed with water initiate fruit body formation for most species of morels.

In our limited experience, morel mycelium grows very quickly from liquid culture inoculated into sterilized rye grain in an injection port bag.  This is a good starting place for experimenting with expansion to other substrates.  We hope you join the great experiment, and help us advance the knowledge of growing morels in our unique Canadian climate.  Tell us about your trials and successes! 

Scarlet Caterpillarclub

Cordyceps militaris

Cordyceps militaris, sometimes called the Scarlet Caterpillarclub, invokes both the fascinating and gory side of mycology.  They are parasites; slowly invading the bodies of buried larvae and pupae of moths and butterflies before bursting upwards into a bright orange club-shaped mushroom, reaching 2-8 cm long. 

Luckily home growers can use substrates that are less gruesome – but why would anybody want to grow them?  Aside from the fun of growing these funky looking mushrooms, people are stoked about their potential health benefits.

Cordyceps have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to treat fatigue, sickness, kidney disease and low sex drive.  Modern day studies are showing they could also be helpful in diabetes management, protecting against tumours, and heart health. 

Cordyceps militaris in wooden bowls
Scarlet Caterpillarclub - Cordyceps militaris

How to Grow Cordyceps at Home

Cordyceps millitaris can be grown at home with simple equipment, and some pretty interesting substrate recipes!  Check out this video from Renegade Mushrooms for a low tech method to grow Cordyceps.  They inject cordyceps liquid culture through airport lids, into jars with proven rice based recipes and compare the results.   What amazing mushrooms to grow!

Cordyceps Concentrated Mushroom Powder
Cordyceps Mushroom Powder Capsules

Brown Beech Shimeji

Hypsizygus tessulatus

Beech Mushrooms
Brown Beech Shimeji - Hypsizygus tessulatus

Brown Beech mushrooms, or Shimeji, are popular in Asian dishes for their crunchier, nutty, savoury flavour.  Unlike morels and cordyceps, Brown Beech mushrooms are fairly easy to grow in bags of sawdust.

These mushrooms grow in small clusters of multiple mushrooms.  In the wild they can be found growing on dead or decaying beech trees, although in North America they can be found on aspens, cottonwoods, and sugar maples. The caps are tan or whitish, and 4-8cm wide and are sometimes described as being “tessulated”, or having a marbled mosaic of “watery spots”. 

You can make your own shimeji grain spawn by injecting liquid culture into bags or jars of rye.  Once the fungal mycelium has grown through the grain, transfer into sterile supplemented sawdust then fruit right from a container indoors, or into plug spawn for outdoor log inoculation.

Brown beech mushrooms take longer to be ready to fruit than the oyster mushrooms, so let them colonize extra long before giving a cold shock to initiate fruiting.

Other Other Liquid Culture Strains

We have a wide assortment of other liquid culture strains as well as equipment and resources to help you on your mycological journey!

Kuo, M. (2006, October). Cordyceps militaris. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/cordyceps_militaris.html

Kuo, M. (2012, October). Morchella importuna. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/morchella_importuna.html

NAMA: North American Mycological Association   https://namyco.org/mushroom_poisoning_syndromes.php

Xu YF. Effect of Polysaccharide from Cordyceps militaris (Ascomycetes) on Physical Fatigue Induced by Forced Swimming. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2016;18(12):1083-1092. doi: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.v18.i12.30. PMID: 28094746.

Ji DB, Ye J, Li CL, Wang YH, Zhao J, Cai SQ. Antiaging effect of Cordyceps sinensis extract. Phytother Res. 2009 Jan;23(1):116-22. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2576. PMID: 18803231.

Lo HC, Tu ST, Lin KC, Lin SC. The anti-hyperglycemic activity of the fruiting body of Cordyceps in diabetic rats induced by nicotinamide and streptozotocin. Life Sci. 2004 Apr 23;74(23):2897-908. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2003.11.003. PMID: 15050427.

Ng TB, Wang HX. Pharmacological actions of Cordyceps, a prized folk medicine. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2005 Dec;57(12):1509-19. doi: 10.1211/jpp.57.12.0001. PMID: 16354395.

Lin B, Li S. Cordyceps as an Herbal Drug. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 5. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92758/

Missouri Department of Conservation Online Field Guide.  Yellow Morel (Common Morel)

Wikipedia contributors. “Hypsizygus tessulatus.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 15 Jun. 2023. Web. 21 Oct. 2023.  

Wikipedia contributors. “Morchella importuna.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 13 Dec. 2022. Web. 21 Oct. 2023.

 

Stamets, Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms (Third Edition), 2000

Mycology Wiki – Beech Mushrooms

Kuo, M. (2012, October). Morchella importuna. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site

Liang ZC, Liang CH, Wu CY. Various grain substrates for the production of fruiting bodies and bioactive compounds of the medicinal caterpillar mushroom, Cordyceps militaris (Ascomycetes). Int J Med Mushrooms. 2014;16(6):569-78. doi: 10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.v16.i6.60. PMID: 25404221.
 
Gavin Van De Walle. (May 9, 2018). 6 Benefits of Cordyceps, All Backed by Science.  Healthline.com
 
 
 
 
 

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The Key is to Keep Cold or Delay Shipping

Refrigeration will delay fruiting for a month or more, and a cold dark basement will slow them for 2-3 weeks.  A sticker on your parcel will alert the recipient to keep it cold.

We encourage you to order early to avoid the uncertainties of the seasonal postal rush, and delay shipping.  To delay shipping, select a date on the checkout page, found directly under your total order $ value.   If you don’t select a date, we will ship in 1-2 business days.

The elves at our family farm are doing our best to keep everything in stock, but we request your understanding just in case we run out and substitute a similar product in order to ship on time.  

Consider also the option of a non-perishable gift, like booksmushroom hot chocolate, or a gift card so that your loved one can choose a living gift when timing is best for them.

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