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Best Management Practices for Log-Based Shiitake Cultivation: Guide Now Available For Farmers In The Northeast

Burlington, VT -- UVM Extension’s Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Cornell Extension and a team of farm advisors have published a guide for growers who want to explore shiitake mushroom cultivation on their own land.

Shiitake mushrooms are the second-most cultivated variety in the world, and the demand for locally produced, log-grown shiitakes is high among chefs and consumers. 

According to the guide, "Forest cultivation of shiitake mushrooms can generate income, diversify farm and forestry enterprises, add value to forestry by-products and create opportunities for timber stand improvement."   At publication time, these mushrooms sell for $10-$18 per pound across New England.

The Center for Sustainable Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer Coordinator Ben Waterman says, "What's important now is to get the word out to farmers about the availability of this publication that can help them  use wooded land to grow shiitakes on their own farms.  The book is a compilation of technical advice, specific steps and instructions, observations and tips for success.  Cornell, UVM and our farmer partners have all learned a lot from each other and are sharing tremendous expertise here."

The guide is the culmination of a three- year research and education project, sponsored by a grant from USDA-Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.   The project was led by Ken Mudge of Cornell University, and included Ben Waterman of the University of Vermont, Allen Matthews of Chatham University and Bridgett Jamison Hilshey of the University of Vermont.  The project was informed by the experiences of more than twenty shiitake growers producing for market in the Northeast, led by four farm advisors:  Steve Sierigk of Hawk Meadow Farm in Trumansburg, N.Y.; Nick Laskovski of Dana Forest Farm in Waitsfield, Vt.; Steve and Julie Rockcastle of Green Heron Growers in Panama, N.Y.; and Steve Gabriel of the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute in Alpine, N.Y.

The book is available for free download at: http://www.uvm.edu/~susagctr/?Page=resources/index.php#books or call the Center at 802-656-5459.

Established in 1994, the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture provides timely information to Vermont communities and the UVM campus.   The Center cultivates partnerships, supports innovative research and practices, and informs policy to advance sustainable food and farming systems. For more information, contact Linda Berlin at the Center,  802-656-0669 or linda.berlin@uvm.edu.

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