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Mushrooms: The New Chickens

Forget coops and freshly laid eggs. The next vogue for the grown your own grub community is mushrooms, according to "Do-It-Yourself Mushrooms" in yesterday's New York Times Home section.

“Plug spawn sales are increasing dramatically,” said Paul Stamets, a prominent mycologist and founder of Fungi Perfecti....The mushroom kit sales are increasing at maybe 25 percent per year, for the last three years,” he said. “The plug spawn sales are easily double that over a three- or four-year period. Mr. Stamets, 54, attributes this new popularity to the “magical” flush of the mushroom. “They’re seemingly invisible, and yet they erupt into view within a day or two,” he said. “There are mushrooms that will break through concrete, and there are mushrooms that form fairy rings. People are curious about that.”
The Oregonian's Homes and Gardens section had a piece on mushroom-growing kits back in January, promoting several Oregon-based mushroom kit suppliers, including Rain Forest Mushrooms, in Eddyville, Oregon, and Sandy's Fungi Farm. A cheaper alternative is joining the Oregon Mycological Society, where fungiphiles can learn to discern delicious from deadly and attend mushroom-positive events such as Mushroom Maynia, "one-day event to raise awareness of the role of fungi in our lives and in the world."
· "Do-It-Yourself Mushrooms" [New York Times]
Amanita mushroom, courtesy of Oregon Mycological Society