Next, we need a cash crop. It seems like everyone in Vermont raises heirloom vegetables and the market is saturated from July through October. I've explored the idea of raising specialty items for restaurants, but the truth is, without being grid-tied and having established greenhouses, the expense of getting it all started is more that I want to commit to. My next thought guides me to fermentation and specialty mushrooms. Sean has been experimenting with pickle fermentation and as soon as the garden is put to bed, I plan to experiment with sourdough bread cultures. Naturally fermented products are sources of curative and preventive medicine. Healthy bacteria filling the human system improves physical and mental functioning. Good for the planet and good for humans. Who could ask for more?
But mushrooms…different types of mushrooms…. earthy and versatile…can grow throughout the year in this climate….and I have a root cellar and basement where I can experiment with different growing procedures after the snow falls. Field & Forest Products Specialty Mushroom catalog inspires me. It's not just a catalog, but a resource that helps identify growing resources (substrates) in various environments and labels the exact types of mushrooms that grow in that substrate. In Vermont, and on our farm, we have plenty of oak, straw and compost. In Spring, we can grow Oyster, Shitake, Wine Cap Stropharia, Maitake, Reishi and Olive Oysterling varieties. In Summer, we continue growing Oysters and Wine Cap Stropharias. In Winter, we move production indoors and we grow Oysters (on straw or toilet paper) or attempt to grow Oysters and Shitakes outside on logs (logs to be previously incubated in Autumn).
Icelandic Sheep, Specialty Mushrooms and Naturally Fermented Products. In that order, will be the next recent developments on Rennsli Farm. Stay tuned as we set the plans in motion and document what we have learned.