Species List


Pearl Oyster

Pleurotus ostreatus

Pearl Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus)
12cc liquid culture syringe
$15 - $25 suggested donation
A storm was gathering in the west when I arrived at the farm, my pickup completely loaded down with mycelium. I was overjoyed when my friends there had offered to find homes for the fungi that had reached the end of their indoor production cycles, but still had so much life left. We exchanged a greeting and then filled wheelbarrows with the bags and trays, and rolled them across the creek to a shady oasis beneath the willows and cottonwoods.

They had made a series of shallow beds there, one for each species, ringed with logs and piled in layers of cardboard, straw and wood chips. Several of the beds had fruited following the rain a few days prior, the most striking of which were the Pearls: fanning out as broad as my whole hand, they bore the marks of half a dozen different critters which had feasted there: rodents, ants, slugs, humans, birds, plants, other fungi. The thunder clapped.

Of the dozen or so oyster mushroom varieties I've played around with in the studio, this is the strain I am most excited to share with other budding mushroom farmers. It grows luxuriantly and consistently produces large, graceful bouquets indoors on pasteurized straw. It is savory, dense and meaty, but not tough or fishy like some of its close relatives, and it has a substantially longer shelf life. It has consistently earned some of the highest marks from my customers, who find it approachable yet exotic, and always ask for more.

As well as a wonderful candidate for commercial indoor cultivation, this is one of the most imminently rewarding varieties to grow outside, producing massive mushrooms when given the chance to sprawl in the open air on logs, stumps and wood chip beds. Given its robust metabolic prowess and culinary desirability, the Pearl Oyster is also a prime choice for mycoremediation projects and for closing waste loops in permaculture systems in climates where the winters are not too harsh.

This strain grows rampantly in culture, and reacts quickly to neutralize pathogens, including nematodes. It would be a fun variety to experiment with adapting to novel food sources like pizza boxes, motor oil, and industrial wastewater.

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