Cornell CALS - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Specialty Mushrooms

Project Lead: Steve Gabriel, Yolanda Gonzalez

Our project offers the leading extension resource for specialty mushroom cultivation on small farms in the United States.

Specialty mushrooms are defined by USDA as any species not belonging to the genus Agaricus (button, crimini, portabella).

The most common specialty mushrooms produced are Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) and Oyster (Pleuterous ostreatus).

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Demand for specialty mushrooms is rapidly rising, as consumers look to purchase more foods that are healthy, nutritious, and medicinal. There are methods to grow mushrooms outdoor systems on logs, stumps, and in beds, as well as indoor production techniques that can occur in a wide range of spaces on straw, sawdust, and other agricultural materials.

For urban growers, mushrooms offer a high value niche crop that can be grown in small spaces. For rural growers, the farm woodlot can be better utilized and healthy forests maintained while procuring materials for production.

Building a viable mushroom enterprise requires learning two skills; technical production and business planning. We help you develop both to meet your goals for production through factsheets and articles, guidebooks, videos, and opportunities to connect with other growers, industry suppliers, and more.

Project Partners

 

The Cornell Small Farms Program, with support from USDA-NIFA and USDA-SARE and alongside partners CCE Harvest NY, Fungi Ally, Farm School NYC, Just Food, and GrowNYC are engaged in a multi-year project to elevate and support diverse mushroom growers in the Northeast region. We are here to help! See our resources at this website, and get in touch.

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News and Updates

Learn to Grow Mushrooms at September Workshop in NYC

By Claire Morrow | August 19, 2019

Interest in specialty mushroom production, or production of any mushroom other than the typical button, crimini, portabella, has grown enormously in recent years, as social and cultural influences have caused…

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Ecological Collaboratory Learns from Wellspring Forest Farm and School

By Kelsie Raucher | November 14, 2018

Agroforestry extension specialist, Steve Gabriel, works for the Cornell Small Farms Program in addition to owning and operating Wellspring Forest Farm and School with his wife, Elizabeth. Their farm and…

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Video Series Shows How Farmers Can Profit From Forests

By Kacey Deamer | November 5, 2018

New York farmers are completing business plans for their woodlots, with the assistance of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chenango County and a grant from the New York Farm Viability Institute.…

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Steve is an Extension Specialist focused on specialty mushroom production and agroforestry. Throughout his career, Steve has taught thousands of people about the ways farming and forestry can be combined to both benefit the ecology and economies of small farms.  He is also a farmer, author, hiker, and musician.

Read Articles by Steve Gabriel