Saturday, January 26, 2013

Briefing from NOFA-NY 2013

For the last two days I've been in attendance of the 2013 NOFA-NY conference in Saratoga Springs, NY. NOFA, the Northeast Organic Farmer's Association, brings these conferences together annually to provide a venue for education and networking amongst the region's organic farmers, farmer-curious and farmer-teachers.

Julie Rockcastle of Green Heron Growers in my own western corner of NY was part of the panel presenting "Forest Farming of Shiitake, Specialty Mushrooms and More" on friday afternoon. Laying out the process of cultivating shiitake mushrooms in detail, the workshop also gave the audience the opportunity to drill and inoculate their own shiitake mushroom logs ("bolts") to take home.
The long tools here inject the drilled logs with mycellium-infested sawdust.
I chose not to make one myself, to instead document the process. After all, I can go visit Green Heron Growers without much difficulty, and I'll probably be moving around a lot before the mushroom is ready to start fruiting like this (about a year):

Out of the 6 workshops I've attended so far, 5 have been excellent and one was just downright abysmal, but I'll say more about that later. The food has been great (and even the coffee!) and, for better or worse even the beer is organic.
Worse for the wallet, certainly, but tasty for sure!
Still coming up tonight are a couple films (one by Farmer of the Year Steve Chaskey) that I've got to hurry up and catch but I'll certainly be back to summarize and share some thoughts. A photo of me bestially devouring a large turkey leg may also come to light.

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