The Cornell Small Farms Program, with support from the USDA Specialty Crop Grant Program and New York Farm Viability Institute, is engaged in a two year project to elevate development of a new niche crop in the New York; log-grown shiitake mushrooms.
Research and development at Cornell over the past decade, along with several partnerships and research projects has enabled greater understanding of the technical and business aspects of a small farm log-grown shiitake enterprise. Woodland log-grown mushrooms are a relatively new, niche crop and are low-input, high output enterprise that can also offset land taxes.
In 2017 & 2018, the grant will focus on developing the following opportunities for farmers in New York:
– A printed planning tool will be published in early 2017 to support enterprise development by farmers. It will include enterprise budget worksheets, timelines for implementations, yield projection planning tools, an outline of safety and sanitation requirements and procedures for value-added products utilizing mushrooms.
– Self-directed online training modules on advanced topics for mushroom cultivation including mushroom identification, forest management, production safety & sanitation measures, and strategic marketing will be released in 2017.
– In 2017 and 2018, Cornell Small Farms will host 5 trainings at regional Cooperative Extension offices including Franklin County. The trainings will be two days, offering enterprise planning sessions on the first day, and individual farm consultations on day two.
– The program will solicit applications from farms for customized one-on-one support developing enterprise plans for their farm. Ongoing guidance and support will enable farms to develop robust and resilient plans for log-grown shiitake growing operations.
– The project will culminate with a report describing the potential markets and further development of the crop in New York, including market channel assessment for five geographic regions in New York State to help define markets and opportunities for farmers.
On January 29 a one-day workshops titled, “Log-Grown Shiitake: Viability for Small Farms” will be held at the Paul Smiths College’s VIC. Anyone who is growing commercially, starting up, or considering commercial production is welcome to attend.
The workshop content will cover all the aspects of production from harvest to market. Workshop cost $30 and includes lunch & handouts.
On the day following the workshop current and prospective farmers can schedule free one-on-one consultations with extension educators to review their farm goals, resources, and discuss challenges and opportunities for their own production.
Sign up by calling the CCE office at (518) 483-7403.
Photo of log-grown Shiitake Mushrooms, provided by Cornell Cooperative Ext.