Learn About the process: Hiratake Mushrooms
At Amara Mushrooms, we believe in living food, as close to its natural state as possible. All of our mushrooms are grown on locally sourced substrate with fresh UV-filtered rainwater and natural sunlight, right here in Denmark, Western Australia.
Our approach is one of simplicity. We work with natural processes, not against them. In this way, we can grow wholesome, nutrient-rich food while reducing energy use and eliminating single-use plastics.
To ensure the quality and authenticity of our products, we maintain a full in-house production process, from selecting mycelium cultures to product packaging.
We receive questions on a daily basis about how we grow our mushrooms. Continue reading to go on a journey as we explore the exciting world of mycology at Amara Mushrooms.
In the Lab:
Mycelium cultures are carefully selected for vigorous growth, adaptability to climate, and quality fruit bodies. We pride ourselves on our high-quality strains.
Cultures are grown on agar before being transferred to sterilized jars of grain to produce mushroom spawn. Once fully colonized, this spawn acts as the 'seed' to inoculate the bulk substrate.
Manufacturing quality spawn is a time-consuming and nuanced process that requires specialized expertise and medical-grade equipment.
Preparing the Substrate:
Substrate is the medium on which mushroom mycelium grows and gets its energy and nutrients. We use locally sourced, non-GMO cereal straw as the basis of our substrate.
The straw is first chopped to allow the mycelium to digest it more easily, before being submerged in a limewater solution. The lime raises the pH level of the water and forces other competing organisms such as mold spores and bacteria that are present on the straw to go into a state of hibernation. After being drained, the pH of the straw begins to drop, as the lime water reacts with CO2 in the air to become neutral.
This cold pasteurization method is energy-efficient and preserves a much wider range of natural enzymes in the substrate when compared to traditional heat sterilization. It's better for the environment, and we believe it produces better mushrooms.
Inoculating the Substrate:
After the straw has been pasteurized, it is mixed with a small amount of grain spawn to 'seed' the mycelium. It is compacted by hand into reusable buckets with predrilled holes. Once inoculated, the fruiting blocks are left to incubate. Over the next three weeks, the mycelium branches out from each individual grain spawn kernel, eventually linking up with others to form a mycelial network and fully colonizing the substrate.
Once the substrate is fully colonized with mushroom mycelium, it is ready to fruit! At this stage, the buckets are moved to our 'grow rooms' where we maintain the perfect environment for emerging mushrooms.
Our grow rooms are lit with natural dappled sunlight, and the air is kept humid with fresh UV-filtered rainwater.
Our grow rooms run on 100% sustainable renewable energy thanks to a stand-alone solar power system.
From the time that pinning primordia begin to emerge, mushrooms roughly double in size every day and are quickly ready for harvest.
Harvesting and Processing:
Each cluster or 'shelf' is unique in shape and appearance and can range dramatically in size, from weighing in at under 50g to upwards of 1500g per cluster. Each individual shelf is carefully handpicked, with any remaining substrate being sliced off with a sharp knife. They are then packed into boxes and immediately chilled to preserve quality.
From here, the Hiratake mushrooms are either sent fresh to local restaurants and farmers' markets or are sliced and dehydrated for our range of dried and powdered mushroom products.
Whether it be whole dried Hiratake mushrooms, Hiratake mushroom powder, or Hiratake mushroom salt, you can be assured of our ongoing commitment to growing and producing products that are environmentally friendly, nutrient-dense, and full of succulent umami flavor.
After subsequent flushes, the fruiting containers are emptied. The resulting mushroom compost is an excellent living mulch and soil conditioner for gardens and can even be used for breaking down hydrocarbons in contaminated soil. It can also be used as a nutrient-rich feed for ruminant livestock.
After the buckets have been emptied, they are washed and dried, ready for another growing cycle with fresh straw and spawn.