Hobby mushroom growing at home has revolutionised in recent years, many Kiwis are familiar with the common button mushroom sold in supermarkets, but oyster mushrooms are another type of mushroom in New Zealand which is delicious and easy to grow.
Oyster mushrooms are a mushroom variety that grows pretty quickly. On average, a harvest can be ready in 2–3 weeks! Another positive is that they forgive many mistakes from most beginner mushroom growers.
What are Oyster Mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms (species name being Pleurotus spp) are
common edible and nutritious fungi that come in different varieties around the world. In New Zealand, you usually come across Italian, Pink or the native Velvet Oyster. Italian oysters are a beautiful light brown with a superior taste and texture to the familiar button. Pink oysters are a gorgeous light pink colour and, according to many people, have a taste akin to bacon. Oyster mushrooms have a short shelf life, so they are not particularly suitable to sell in supermarkets, but they are effortless to grow!
How to grow them
Growing oyster mushrooms has never been easier with an Oak and Spore Mushroom kit. These kits are designed so all the hard work is done, and no pre-sterilisation or inoculation is required. Contrary to popular belief, oyster mushrooms need light to grow, so don't leave them in a dark cupboard! Place the kit in a warm spot like the kitchen, laundry or bathroom. Then mist daily with water to ensure the kit attains ideal humidity and temperature levels. Within days or weeks, you will see mushrooms pinning from the kit, quickly growing into a beautiful mushroom crop (also known as flush in mushroom lingo).
When to Harvest
The optimal time to harvest oyster mushrooms is when the caps have fully opened, and the gills underneath are visible. At this point, the mushrooms will be at their peak flavour and texture. If you wait too long to harvest, the mushrooms will start to degrade in quality and may begin to release spores, which can affect their flavour and shelf life.
About Oak and Spore Mushroom Farm
Tom, the founder of Oak and Spore, is a veteran of the Afghanistan conflict and an ex-police officer. He accidentally fell into the mushroom growing scene after watching some YouTube videos. He started Oak and Spore as a hobby from his garage in 2018, and it has since evolved into a commercial mushroom farm in Christchurch. Alongside his wife Nicky, they are very passionate about hobby mushroom growing and are stoked to create a product that allows others to enjoy mushroom growing at home.