Exotic mushroom cultures from Asia are quickly making a name for themselves on European markets. The Shimeji - a variety with a nutty flavor - can be well marketed in the gastronomy and retail trade. But cultivation in Europe is still in its infancy. The Kernser company has
reintroduced the culture into its assortment and also supplies suitable substrates to European producers. "In the long term, the goal is to produce European goods," says senior manager Sepp Häcki.
Cultivation and consumption
The mushroom producer had already tried cultivating the exotics some years ago, with satisfying results. "We have adjusted the raw materials in the substrates since then and the fungus is now growing perfectly. The culture itself is not particularly demanding, but the substrate is the more so. During production, the culture needs a lot of cold. That is, the temperature must not exceed 13 degrees."
This experienced producer is of the opinion that the Shimeji has interesting options in the long run. This is mainly because it is particularly well suited to being stored and has a nutty taste, which can best be compared with the King Trumpet mushroom. "In Asia, the Shimeji is already one of the most sought-after mushrooms with regard to noble mushrooms," says Häcki. "Currently, we sell one third white and two-thirds brown Shimejis. This has mainly to do with the fact that the brown Shimeji has a very strong aroma. In Asia, people prefer the brown, the Europeans rather eat the white Shimeji."
Sensitive substrate culture
In the catering sector, the Shimeji is already being sold in quite relevant quantities. For retailers it currently plays a minor role. "I think the Shimeji will play an important role alongside mushrooms and Shiitake. In the long term, the goal is to produce European goods," says Shimeji's only producer in Switzerland. "But I believe that the right substrate for Europe will be an issue in the long term. Substrate production is very sensitive. We are also about to export our substrate," says Häcki.