Mushrooms are one of the few foods we eat that are neither plant or animal. We trek to Lake Seminole Farm, where two men took a chance and have started a mushroom growing operation. In looking at how mushrooms grow, we get an unexpected lesson in forest ecology.
Rob Diaz de Villegas WFSU-TV
Mushrooms are a food with a mystique about them. They’re like oysters or sushi. There are serious enthusiasts willing to spend good money on certain varieties; others are repulsed at the thought of them. Think of the possible outcomes of trying a random mushroom found in the woods. You discover amazing flavor. You become sick. You die. You take an unexpected mystic voyage into the depths of your psyche. This is not a food that is like the other food you eat, and so it makes sense that a mushroom farm doesn’t exactly look like most other farms.
Lake Seminole Farm grows shiitake and oyster mushrooms (I love the symmetry of the Apalachicola River- the body of water to its south has oysters, the body of water to its north has oyster mushrooms). David Krause studied fungi at FSU and USF, part of a career path that led to his being Florida’s state toxicologist from 2008 through 2011. In 2011, he took a chance and decided to put his land to work. Living on Lake Seminole, his property has the dense tangle of hardwoods that you find on a floodplain. Those oak and gum trees are perfect for growing shiitake mushrooms. But the farm doesn’t exclusively use logs gathered on the property. Continue reading