Hantana Pearlâ„¢ has taken the first steps toward large-quantity fresh mushroom production!

Until recently, we produced all our fresh mushrooms - for farmer's markets and restaurant customers - in small batches, mostly by hand, using Wayne's peroxide method to compensate for our less-than-sterile working environment. 

We will keep doing a certain amount of that, and of course produce our own kits, but as the demand for fresh Hantana Pearl mushrooms grows, we need a more mature, larger-scale commercial growing environment.
I decided not to build our own, choosing instead to work with an established grower in the Syracuse area, Galvin Farms. I propagate the mushrooms, producing spawn that then goes to Galvin's where they use it to inoculate their standard oyster-mushroom substrate - a delicious, all-natural mixture of sawdust, soy, and grains.

You might expect that having an experienced grower use our spawn would just work, but quite a few subtle factors can affect the process. From the start I worried mainly about whether our spawn would be clean enough for a process that does not incorporate hydrogen peroxide.

Using peroxide in the right concentration suppresses the germination of mold and other contaminant spores. That lets us worry less about the sterility of the workspace and the growing substrate. It does not hinder the growth of the mushrooms, though, since our we condition our spawn to get it used to added peroxide. 

Because we rely on peroxide to take care of incidental contamination, a few spores in the spawn or from t he workspace might not matter that much. But put our spawn in a mixture without peroxide and, if the spawn isn't clean enough, you can lose the whole batch.

So is our spawn clean enough? So far, yes. Once we got the first round of kinks  worked out, HP's growth rate and productivity began to measure up reasonably well compared to that of the commercial strain they mainly grow.  Of course, I don't think that strain has anything like the rich flavor, great looks, and flat-out fabulous fungal charisma of our Pearl.

But of course I'm biased.