Imperial Garden Biotech supplies the global specialty mushroom and shiitake market with frozen shiitake logs that can be used for growing fresh shiitakes locally. In this article, Harrison Feng, the company’s director, shares some practical information on how to start and maintain a shiitake farm.
Harrison starts: “Basic requirements are a production facility equipped with heating, cooling and sprinkling systems, in which temperature, humidity and CO2 levels can be controlled. The facility can be a greenhouse, warehouse or other type of building, but it will have to be modified for shiitake production.”
“Depending on different shiitake strains, we usually do not advise a temperature above 25 degrees. We normally provide detailed instructions when clients place their shiitake logs orders with us,” continues Harrison: “Typically, clients can harvest their first fresh shiitake flush within 15 days if all growing conditions are matched. Our company supply shiitake strains based on regional preferences and the local market. We have three different strains in-house.”
Yield and production
Depending on the experience of the client and the production facility, one shiitake log usually produces 700 grams of fresh shiitake per flush. Experience as a grower and the set-up of the facility are important for the yield generated. It can determine yield or contamination if growers lack experience.”
Each shiitake log can harvest three to four flushes, but as the yield will be lower after the first flush and as labor costs are expensive in some countries, most clients only harvest two flushes in the European market.
Fresh is key
Harrison strongly suggest that the grower ensures they have clients that can take the fresh shiitake immediately after harvest. After harvest, shiitakes need to be kept in cold storage at around 0 degrees to keep freshness. If there are no buyers lined up, inventory problems might happen.
He explains: “Generally, we advise to our growers using our logs that they have a clear understanding of their respective clients. Our growers should have stable buyers that can take the fresh shiitake the moment they are ready for harvest. With our quality logs the first flushes can be harvested within fifteen days; before then the next step in the supply chain should be established! Our company is currently China’s number 2 supplier of shiitake logs in the global market. Currently we ship to fourteen different countries and we continue to grow.
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