Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Weekly Recommendations, Week 8: Back to the Roots Mushroom Garden

I had wanted to grow some mushrooms for a while, but for one reason or another I just didn’t get around to it…until now! There are several different mushroom kits to choose from out there, but the latest sensation is a pearl oyster mushroom kit developed by Back to the Roots, a recently formed company founded by a couple of college friends who were studying to be investment bankers. Once they discovered that mushrooms could be grown in used coffee grounds, they developed a vision for a new company; and hence, Back to the Roots appeared. I’m not a huge fan of the name considering that mushrooms don’t even have roots, but I guess I can see what they were going for. The oyster mushroom kit is meant to be a very simple set-up so that pretty much anyone can have success, a very do-it-yourself approach. Plus, the growing medium is used coffee grounds, and most of the kit is either recyclable or compostable, so it’s definitely an environmentally responsible product.
The question is does it perform? The instructions say that if all goes well, you’ll be harvesting mushrooms in as little as ten days; mine, however, took more than two weeks. My harvest was significantly smaller than the pictures on the website, which was a major disappointment; however, the mushrooms were still pretty tasty, which only made me wish I had more. The instructions also say that each kit can yield multiple harvests (as many as 4); I’m not holding out much hope for that, but I guess we’ll see. Either way, I highly doubt that I’ll be harvesting 1 ½ pounds of mushrooms like the website claims is possible. Despite my disappointing results, I still had fun with this kit, and I would recommend it to any mushroom fan – or really anybody who likes to watch things grow – and hopefully you’ll have better luck than I did.

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