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The Center for Agroforestry

UMCA News Release

MU specialty mushroom workshop, Dec. 3-4, offers facts for future fungus farmers

Nov. 5, 2004

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Nothing beats homegrown produce, whether you’re talking about sweet corn, tomatoes — or shiitake mushrooms. Anyone interested in learning the basics of producing and marketing shiitake and other specialty mushrooms can do so at a University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry workshop, Dec. 3-4 in Columbia, Mo.

The workshop begins at 7 p.m. Friday with a mixer at the Ramada Inn Conference Center, 1100 Vandiver Drive, said Julie Rhoads, events coordinator for the center. Specialty mushroom books, catalogs and supplies will be exhibited, and professional mushroom growers will be on hand to answer questions.

Saturday’s program begins at 6:30 a.m. at breakfast with an informational meeting for those interested in participating in a shiitake growers association, said Johann Bruhn, MU associate professor of plant pathology who specializes in edible mushroom production.

“Mary Ellen Kozak and Joe Krawczyk, owners of Field and Forest Products in Peshtigo, Wis., are interested in expanding the Shiitake Growers Association of Wisconsin to include all growers east of the Rockies,” he said.

Bruhn will relate his research progress towards truffle production in Missouri, a project he began in 1999.

“Although establishing a truffle plantation takes years, and requires the right environmental conditions, the payoff can be substantial,” he said. “Perigord truffles like those we’re studying sell for around $500 a pound in Europe, and the average plantation yields 40 pounds per acre. That’s $20,000 per acre.”

Kozak and Krawczyk will give separate presentations, one on cultivating wine-cap Stropharia and oyster mushrooms, and on one producing shiitake mushrooms outdoors. During lunch, Nicola McPherson, owner of Ozark Forest Mushrooms, will explain how shiitake mushrooms can be produced indoors during winter.

In the afternoon, the group will depart for the MU Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center in New Franklin, Mo., for a tour of the shiitake and truffle study sites.

“Participants will have the opportunity to get hands-on with shiitake,” Bruhn said. “We’ll take them through each step, from selecting good logs through inoculation, from drilling the holes to inserting the spawn and applying the wax.”

An optional Saturday evening event for participants will be at the Wine Cellar and Bistro in downtown Columbia. “We’ll have award-winning Missouri wines for sampling, and executive chef Craig Cyr will prepare a selection of foods made with Missouri-grown products, including mushrooms,” Rhoads said.

Cost for the workshop, which includes the Friday mixer and Saturday luncheon, is $69. The optional regional food tasting on Saturday evening is $25.

The Ramada Inn is offering a special room rate until Nov. 19 for both Friday and Saturday nights. The discounted rate is $58 and includes a hot breakfast buffet. Call (573) 449-0051 for reservations, and mention you are with the mushroom workshop.

A brochure containing the workshop program and registration form is available for download at: Workshop sponsors include the MU Center for Agroforestry; the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; Field and Forest Products; and Ozark Forest Mushrooms. For more information, contact Rhoads at (573) 882-3234 or

Jason L. Jenkins
Senior Information Specialist
Extension & Ag Information
University of Missouri
(573) 882-2980

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