Frequently Asked Questions (and Some Others Too!)
While we've strived to make this FAQ as comprehensive as possible, there is always the possibility of having a question that this page does not address. Please feel free to reach out to us via the Contact Us page or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org if you had a question or concern not covered here. We are more than happy to help!
Basic Terms Used in Mycology
What is Colonization?
Colonization is the term used to describe the propagation of a fungus. More specifically, it refers to the growth and spread of fungal mycelium through a given substrate. Full-colonization refers to the state where fungus has fully grown through a given substrate such that there is nowhere left to further propagate. You will learn to associate this term with happy feelings because guess what happens when a fungus has fully-colonized a substrate? It begins to fruit!
What is Substrate?
Substrate refers to the material we seek to propagate and fruit fungus from. Many mushroom growers who grow from "scratch" use a two-step process to arrive at fruited mushrooms. They first innoculate "spawn" -- usually a mix of a grain and a couple helpful additives, much like the grain spawn bags we sell -- either using liquid culture (as defined below) or spores, and wait for this "spawn" to fully-colonize. Once the spawn is colonized, it is then mixed with a much larger batch of material—of which there are numerous blends depending on the type of fungus (we naturally prefer our own Turbocharged Master's Mix and use it in all of our Mushroom Farm blocks)—so that the fungus further propagates and fully colonizes this material. Once fully colonized, mushrooms are ready to be grown! Some of you may ask, "Isn't the Spawn technically a substrate since the fungus is propagating through it?" and you'd be right! Folks just use "substrate" to refer to the second, larger batch of material from which fruiting actually takes place.
What is Liquid Culture?
Liquid Culture is pretty much what the words themselves suggest: a culture of active and living mycelium suspending in a nutrient broth largely consisting of malt extract agar and nature's most fundamental source of energy, sugar! Using liquid culture to grow mushrooms provides speeds up spawn colonization times as there no longer is the need to wait for spore germination which, in turn, can increase your chances for success as there is less time for contamination to take hold. Liquid cultures can last for several months if kept in a cold refrigerator, with the exception of Pink Oyster, as this species is especially sensitive in general to colder temperatures.
When will My Order Arrive?
Given that we sell a lot of different things, the honest answer is that it depends on what you are ordering. While more specific timelines for various items are discussed below, we wanted to humbly note two general rules:
- Our goal is to get things to you as quickly as possible and will ship ready portions of your order, at no additional cost to you, in advance of those that take longer to fulfill!
- Most orders for consumables and living media are fulfilled on Mondays to avoid weekend fungi over the weekend. In some cases this may adjust for closures and holidays.
Mushrooms: Ordering is subject to greenhouse availability, as most mushrooms unfortunately do not keep as long as other grown consumables like fruits and vegetables do. That said, we continually grow and harvest our most popular mushrooms in order to have a ready supply for local restaurants and, as such, will quite likely have what you need in stock!
Fresh mushroom orders are are shipped in rigid cake boxes, while frozen mushrooms will be shipped in well-sealed bag—both with cold packs—to ensure they are as fresh (or properly frozen as the case may be) upon arrival as they were when dispatched!
Living Media: With the exception of our most popular picks, all fruiting blocks, liquid cultures, syringes, slants, wedges, petri dishes and other media involving growth and colonization are made to order and may take 2-3 weeks to fully colonize and ship.
Substrates and Spawn: We strive to have these items in stock (through the use of our own custom designed bulk pasteurization machines!) and ready to shop immediately.
Tools: Many of our Tools (in the aptly named "Tools" section) are not held in our current inventory but are drop-shipped to you. This allows us the ability to offer you an extremely diverse and varied selection while keep our costs (and your prices!) low. Because they are drop-shipped, we do not have control over the shipping speed and, to error on the side of not overpromising, we estimate a time frame of several weeks.
Memorabilia: We strive to have a certain amount of common swag in stock, but much of our memorabilia is printed on demand and, accordingly, will take roughly 2 weeks from order to fulfillment.
What Should I Do When My Mushroom Farms Arrive?
Apart from obviously attending to them quickly as they are living organisms, please see our Mushroom Farm Instructions. We've taken great effort to provide detailed instructions, including some species specific information, to arm you with all the information you need to have the best chance at success!
What Should I Do When My Slants/Petri Dish/Liquid Cultures Arrive?
We presume that if you are ordering these items you have some level of familiarity with fungus. Still, we humbly suggest that if you are not planning on using your colonized media immediately, storing it in a refrigerator will allow it to keep for several months, and in the case of slants, years. A general rule of thumb is that cooling down mycelium slows and safely "suspends" it for a good deal of time - people have stored colonized spawn in the refrigerator for months with success. If you want to really get into the weeds of preserving fungus, this article from Cornell University is a fun read.
What is your Return Policy?
For our Mushroom Farms, we humbly refer you to our world-famous Humble Fungus Guarantee. For other items, we accept [to be complete].
Why Aren't My Mushroom Farms Growing?
Please see our Mushroom Farm Instructions for detailed instructions on how to ensure success with your grows. We've included a specific section on troubleshooting, which outlines common issues encountered when growing mushrooms as well as common mistakes people make and which hopefully you'll avoid! In the unlikely event there is a true problem, have no fear, as your order is backed by our world-famous Humble Fungus Guarantee!