A couple weeks back, Hurricane Earl gave us a scare. It threatened our coastline, so we battened our hatches. The storm ended up weakening and veering out to sea, so all it did was down branches, rattle windows, and disorient the poultry.

But Earl worked wonders for the shiitake mushrooms. Our logs had been more or less dormant throughout the summer. We’d had a couple here and a couple there, but it was mostly too warm and dry for the mushrooms to fruit. Earl gave them a good, hard soak, and a few days later Kevin saw the mushrooms poking through the bark. He counted them, and then came inside.

“Make me a market on how many shiitakes we’re going to have in about a week.” (Remember, Kevin was a commodity trader, and the language of the trading floor has worked its way into our marriage. In a nutshell, this is his way of asking me to guess how many mushrooms are out there – but if you’re interested in a more cogent explanation of the phrase, I went into it in gory detail in this post.)

I figured we’d get a bunch, but I had no idea how many. I guessed. “Six bid at nine.”

“Take ‘em!” he said, before the words were completely out of my mouth. So, more than nine.

“Fifteen at twenty?”

“Take ‘em!”

And so on, up and up, until he finally just told me the count. Eighty-two.

Eighty-two shiitakes! And so it was. Over the last week, we’ve harvested something like five pounds of mushrooms. It’s an ill wind that blows no good.

8 people are having a conversation about “Flush!

  1. Jeez! What are you going to do with them all? Dry some?

    Mushrooms are in the plans if I can get my hands on some whole oak log sections…..

    Lucky you!

  2. Awesome 😀 That saying finally makes sense.

    Hey, can you see if the link to “gory details” about trader lingo is broken? I would love to read about it but I’m getting Page not found.

  3. Is there something in the heavy rains, a nutrient or something, that causes the flush or is it merely the temperature / moisture combo? Mushrooms are a mysterious thing, kind of like trader’s language.

    Thinking commodities, shiitake mushrooms must have a serious bartering value in a market flooded with tomatoes, zuchinni, and corn. Are you going to keep them or trade? Or will this be the impetus for getting a dehydrator?

  4. Paula — I find the easiest thing to do is slice them, saute them, and freeze them in little bags. That way, they’re ready to just dump into a soup, stew, or sauce — no rehydrating necessary.

    As for the oak logs, it should be easy. Talk to a firewood guy, and see if you can buy freshly cut logs, about 6 inches in diameter, maybe 3 feet long. Either that, or find a neighbor with an inconvenient oak tree and go over there with a chain saw and a big smile.

    Liz — Thanks for the heads-up on the link. It’s fixed now, so you read even more of my deathless prose.

    Jen — Mushrooms are indeed mysterious, but I think this one’s all about the temperature/moisture combo. Moisture, particularly, I think. We can force the logs by soaking them in the pond — a week or so later, we get a crop. For nutirents, the shiitakes are slowly eating through the oak.

    Shiitakes do have serious barter value, both because they’re delicious and because not many people grow them. Usually, though, we give a few to our very bestest friends and save the rest for our own greedy selves.

  5. Speaking of mushrooms, barter value, and bestest friends……. Your latest post got me to thinking a bit about it all. I figured that since we didn’t qualify for the “bestest friends” category, I was hoping to qualify in the barter category for even the tiny weeniest sample of those shitake mushrooms of yours.
    I have tomatoes, but you have more. I could get you clams or oysters (when in season), but you have more and can get them off your “farm” when not in season. I might have cranberries but right now because if they aren’t rotten, they’re still green. I have Montauk daisies, but you can’t eat them. I have two kids and my sweetie, but they are worth way more than all the mushrooms in the world!
    So then I was thinking, what about the dozen or so wild mushrooms I’ve delivered to your doorstep over the last year? I know, some were inedible, maybe past their prime, or covered with bugs and magotts, but I don’t think any were down right poisonous or anything. In the effort catagory, I hurdled guard rails, trespassed on private property, parked illegally, fought off poison ivy and prickers, I even climbed a tree to get what looked like a yummy wild fungus for you……. And still, not even the tiny weeniest shitake trade from that bumper crop of yours? I guess I will just have to sigh up for your mushroom growing workshop next Friday and grow my own damn mushrooms. That is, if there is still room in the class of course!

  6. Linda — I am SO busted. By “bestest friends” I of course meant ABSOLUTELY NOBODY, but thought I could get away with not admitting it. This current flush of mushrooms is already eaten or frozen, but the next flush has a nice juicy sample with your name on it. You’ve earned it!

  7. Hi, I ended up here, from milkweed&teasel, I think. Pleased to meet you.

    I love mushrooms, all types, but dare not eat those growing on the farm as some are known to be poisonous – if only I can tell the difference

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