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Growing gourmet mushrooms in a plastic bucket

June 29, 2012 at 4:30 PM

As you know, plastic buckets have a wide variety of uses, homebrew, food containers, mixing paint and even drumming! Now, some American whizz-kids have taken to growing gourmet mushrooms in them.

Chase England, his brother Kyle and friend, Jordan Arnold, are the Biocentric Bros. It’s a small mushroom-growing business in Utah that has discovered how to grow mushrooms in plastic pails (as they call them in the States).

It was only a year ago that, after watching a documentary about the sad state of the American food industry, they bought some produce at a farmers market, planted a garden, and began experimenting with all sorts of fungi. A friend kindly offered to let the England brothers use her 14-acre farm (like you do), and the business began to take shape. The farm was partly covered in dense scrub oak, which kept it shaded and ideal for growing mushrooms.


Mushrooms grow similarly to the way flowers do. It begins with a tiny spore (similar to a seed) which the brothers germinate in petri dishes. After a week, the spore grows fluffy white cotton-like strands called mycelium. This needs a medium in which to grow. Naturally occurring mycelium grows in rich dark soil or a tree stump. However thew brothers have discovered that it also grows in straw in plastic pails.
They heat the straw, killing any nasty microorganism that might harm the mycelium. The resultant strands are placed with grains in white buckets that holes punctured in them and are inoculated with the mycelium. These buckets then sit for a few weeks in a dark basement until such time that the mycelium spread. Mushrooms then begin to grow through the holes in the bucket.

Once this step is complete, the next part of the process is fruiting. This is somewhat trickier and requires perfect conditions. The buckets are putoutside in a shady area under oak trees, to avoid the heat. The addition of a sprionkler system offers the required amount of moisture, allowing the mushrooms to grow in clusters all around the pail. The whole process takes about 5 weeks.

Because the Biocentric Bros venture is very new, and the owners are still experimenting, they say they’ll have only a limited amount of mild oyster mushrooms available for sale at the farmer’s market they are attending. To complement them, though they’ll also sell fruit, vegetables and eggs from their flock of free-range chickens. They are however still trying to expand their bucket grown mushroom range and are experimenting with shiitaki and lion’s mane mushrooms to be ready later in the summer.

Tags: plastic food containers plastic buckets plastic pails
Category: plastic food containers

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