Monday, 7 September 2020

Cultivated Mushrooms in the Loire Valley


Mushrooms being cultivated in a former underground limestone quarry at Bourré.
Mushrooms being cultivated in a former underground limestone quarry.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Man has cultivated mushrooms since antiquity. The good to eat, easy to cultivate species are button mushrooms (Fr. champignons de Paris), oyster mushrooms (Fr. pleurotes) and shiitake. These mushrooms are all saprophytic, living on dead matter (manure, straw or wood). They have been cultivated industrially since the 20th century. A million tonnes of button mushrooms are produced globally annually.

 Chestnut Mushroom Agaricus bisporus cultivation at Bourré.
Chestnut Mushroom Agaricus bisporus cultivation.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

In contrast, the sought after gourmet mycorhizal species like girolles and ceps are the subject of experimental but as yet unsuccessful cultivation attempts.

Yellow Oyster Mushroom Pleurotus citrinopileatus cultivation at Bourré.
Yellow Oyster mushroom Pleurotus citronopileatus cultivation.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Truffles are cultivated in truffle orchards planted with oaks or hazels that have been innoculated as saplings.

 Shiitake Lentinula edodes cultivation at Bourré.
Shiitake Lentinula edodes cultivation.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

An edible mushroom that has been picked but kept in poor conditions (eg in a plastic bag) rapidly becomes toxic because of the development of bacterial contamination.

 Locally grown Black Truffle Tuber melanosporum at the annual market in Marigny-Marmande.
Black truffle Tuber melanosporum at an annual market.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Mushrooms are 90% water with very little nutritional value (2-4% protein, 2-13% sugars, virtually no fat, some mineral salts and vitamins). 

Truffle orchard in the Loire Valley.
Truffle orchard.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

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2 comments:

Sheila said...

I was here much earlier, but my laptop wouldn't let me 'publish.' I'll try again. I always enjoy these mushroom cellar photos, which remind me of those taken by submersibles on the floor of some deep ocean canyon. The yellow oysters are amazing.

Perhaps some day you could do a post about how the truffle saplings are innoculated.

Susan said...

I don't seem to run into truffle growers these days.

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