By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao 

During the Caraga leg of AgriTalk 2020, Anecita M. Troza, a Science Research Assistant of the Department of Agriculture’s Regional Field Office 13 in Caraga (DA-RFO 13), discussed community-based mushroom production and processing and how it can provide farmers with a source of income. 

In the previous article, Troza tackled the different methods to grow mushrooms. Here, she talks about the proper care and management of mushrooms as soon as they have begun to sprout. 

Caring for mushrooms

Once the fruiting bags have shown signs of life, it is important to maintain their conditions to keep the edible fungi inside from dying out or being contaminated. 

According to Troza in a webinar aired on the Facebook pages of the Agricultural Training Institute in Caraga (ATI-Caraga) and Agriculture Online, there are things to consider in caring and maintaining mushrooms. 

The first one would be water. Like all living things, mushrooms also need water in order to survive. Daily watering of the mushroom fruiting bags can keep the fungi from drying out. The fruiting bags should be kept away from direct sunlight. 

Next, the mushroom house or area where the fungi are grown should always remain clean. Aside from securing the perimeter to keep pests from entering, regular sanitation of the location should be observed to avoid contamination. 

Moreover, the mushroom fruiting area or house should maintain 80 to 95 percent of relative humidity.

Processing ideas 

As soon as mushrooms break out of the fruiting bags and reach a desirable size, they are ready to be harvested. 

Now, mushrooms are usually consumed when they’re incorporated in other dishes such as steaks, omelets, stir-fries, and more, mushroom producers can earn extra income by taking an extra step to create a different kind of mushroom-based product that will pique the interest of consumers. 

Some enterprising minds have used mushrooms as a healthy alternative to snacking by turning these edible fungi into chips or chicharon that features all kinds of flavors such as barbecue, sour cream, or just plain salted. 

Yet, there are other routes that can be taken. 

Troza cited some examples of mushroom-based products which include mushroom empanada, mushroom polvoron, mushroom cookies, and mushroom puto to name a few. It merely takes a creative mind and strong will to take the risk in creating a new mushroom delicacy. 

Because of its versatility, mushrooms can be made into both savory and sweet dishes which will not only delight the palates of the adventurous foodies, but also bring about an extra income to a community or farmers who chose to invest in this edible fungi. 

Watch the full video of the webinar here