The hospitality and horticulture programs have been working together for a long time, growing fresh produce like tomatoes, zucchinis, peppers and more. Now they’re finally growing mushrooms.
This particular project started in June. David Fairbanks, along with the help of many other culinary professors, approached horticulture program co-ordinator Steve Neumann with the idea to start growing shiitake mushrooms.
“It’ll take about six months until we hopefully get the first flushing of mushrooms,” said Fairbanks. “They’ll really start to establish themselves after about a year or two years.”
The mushrooms have to grow in hard wood. The oak logs that sit in the horticulture student’s veggie garden came from Fairbank’s property near Wakefield. The chef-training professor, along with Dan Halden, Scott Warrick, Sean Edwards and Steve Price, worked together on this project.
They cut down oak trees, then drilled and tapped in the mycelium bacteria that they ordered for the shiitake mushrooms.
The mushrooms will not only be for cooking. Fairbanks intends on using the logs in the classrooms later as demonstrations to teach students about how the mushrooms grow.
“We all want to get involved and bring as much to the students as possible,” said Fairbanks.
“We’re always open to try new stuff with culinary,” said Neumann. “We grow the stuff, they cook the stuff, we all eat the stuff.”