University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

Research Project:

Shiitakes as a Farm/Forest Enterprise

Cutting Logs for Growing Mushrooms

Forest farming of shiitake mushrooms can be a great on-farm enterprise for farmers with wooded land. It's an agroforestry practice that increases crop diversity while providing diversified income for farmers and other forest owners. Shiitake mushrooms are grown on fresh-cut pole-sized logs which may be obtained from thinning as part of sustainable forest management. They begin producing mushrooms after one year and continue producing for up to 5 years.

In January, 2014, the project team 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 guide is the culmination of a 3 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, Bridgett Jamison Hilshey of the University of Vermont, and 20 commercial Shiitake mushroom producers across the Northeast.

Principal Investigator

Kenneth Mudge
Associate Professor
Department of Horticulture
Cornell University
Email Ken


Bridgett Jamison, University of Vermont
Email Bridget

Kenneth Mudge, Cornell University
Email Ken

Research Team

Steve Gabriel, Work With Nature Ecological Design Solutions
E-mail Steve

Nickolas Laskovski, Dana Forest Farm
E-mail Nick

Allen Matthews, Chatham University
(formerly with UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture)
E-mail Allen

Kenneth Mudge, Cornell University
Email Ken

Steve & Julie Rockcastle, Green Heron Growers
E-mail Steve & Julie

Steve Sierigk, Hawk Meadow Farm
E-mail Steve

Marilyn Wyman, Agroforestry Resource Center, Cornell Cooperative Extension
E-mail Marilyn

Research Project Dates

June 2010-July 2013


Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education



Ben Waterman at 802-656-9142 or

Last modified July 23 2015 01:10 PM