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

Getting Started Right for Successful Ginseng Production

By Tara Hammonds | October 5, 2015

by Bob Beyfuss Commercial ginseng production has a long history and affiliation with Cornell University. I have a collection of Cornell publications dating from as early as 1904 on topics…

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Lion's Mane: A new candidate for profitable forest mushroom cultivation

By Tara Hammonds | April 6, 2015

by Ken Mudge Forest cultivation of shiitake mushrooms has become one of the most important non- timber forest crops in the Northeast. Well-established methods of cultivation, along with strong market…

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Growing Mushrooms for Fun and Profit

By Rachel Whiteheart | April 4, 2010

By Rebecca Hargrave In the Fall 2009 issue of Small Farms Quarterly, Mike Farrell wrote an introductory article on some agroforestry topics, including maple syrup production and nuts. There are…

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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