Oyster Mushrooms Emerge

Our farm is heavily wooded: cedars, maples, and alder.  The cedars are lovely.  The maples majestic, plus they offer wonderful nectar for the bees.  Alders provide the bees with pollen in February and March.  But alders snap, leaving tall broken snags behind.  These become home to burrowing insects, foraging areas for woodpeckers, hives for feral bees, and massive oyster mushroom “logs” in the spring.

Oyster Mushrooms on Brookfield Farm Alder

Oyster Mushrooms In Forest

Oyster mushrooms are one of our delicious native fungi which grow on dead alder.  The probably grow on other trees as well, but they love our alders. When the weather is right (lots of rain followed by cool sunny days) a moss-covered snag can suddenly be coated in delicate, yummy mushrooms.

The challenge at times is how to get up the brittle alder to harvest this bounty.  On some trees I just shrug and figure time will provide the answer.  The mushroom spoors will spread over the alder.  Meanwhile, the mushroom mycelium will spread though the snag and, one day, produce “fruits”, oyster mushrooms, that I can reach.

Oyster mushroooms in a forest

Oyster mushrooms going "up" the alder

This is the year for one tree that has teased me over the last 5 years.  The mushrooms are at my height and are providing a delicious addition to breakfasts and dinners.

Oyster Mushrooms

Close Up Oyster Mushrooms

The bees? Oh they’re fine.  Splits are being made, some with swarm cells, some with nucs.  I’ll talk of those later.  But now, the oyster mushrooms call.

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About brookfieldfarmhoney

Brookfield Farm, a small off-grid apiary in Maple Falls, WA focuses on the beauty and bounties of Washington’s wilderness. I sell honey from our bees, whose naturally-treated, antibiotic-free hives are home to bees who fly Washington’s mountains and farmlands. Herbal salves and lip balms from Brookfield beeswax. Delicately infused honeys and vinegars. Varietal honeys from independent Washington beekeepers. Karen Edmundson Bean: beekeeper, photographer. Her love of the wilderness inspires her to discover new ways of bringing the wonders of nature to others. Brookfield Farm : the tastes, textures, sounds, and images of nature.
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