By John Halamka

We’re now in the middle of Spring mushroom season. Shitake subtypes like Westwind, Double Jewel, Snowcap, WR46 and WW70 have been particularly productive. The bulk of our mushroom production is in the Fall, but having two fruitings per season really helps our mushroom business.

At present, we have only 10,000 pounds of oak in Shitake production. In the western part of Massachusetts, one commercial Shitake supplier has 450,000 pounds of oak logs growing mushrooms. This year, Kathy and I will add an additional 10,000 pounds of oak for new Shitake varieties, Nameko mushrooms, and Gandoderma Lucidum (Reishi/Lingzhi). We’ll process 1000 pounds of logs every weekend for the next 10 weeks. Here’s this weekend’s batch

This week we’ve had unseasonably warm weather. We’ve finished planting the heat loving vegetables – tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, squash, and pumpkins. All our watering systems (micro sprinklers connected to our well) have been keeping the young plants moist and we’ve cranked up the sides of the hoop house to avoid drying out the 16 raised beds.

While I was in China, Kathy and a local excavator completed the trenching of the electrical line to the cider house. When I returned, Kathy and I ran 250 feet of burial cable through the conduit and I completed the wiring to 2 lights, 2 plugs, and 2 switches. With electrical in place, I was finally able to use the shop vacuum to fully clean the inside of the cider house, removing all the saw dust and debris from its original construction. Our efforts were just in time – the state inspector visited this week as part of our Massachusetts licensure as a farmer winery (we’re already a Federal bonded winery). As soon as the inspector issues the certificate, we can begin selling our hard cider at the farm. The next step will be a farmer’s market permit for selling Unity Farm ciders at local farm stands.

Kathy’s bee work continues and this weekend we’ll receive 4 “nucs” of Buckfast bees (in addition to the 2 “nucs” of Russian bees arriving next week). She has set up 6 new hives in Holliston, Wellesley, and Medfield as part of our honey production and queen breeding program. With 18 hives and nearly 200,000 bees, Unity Farm will have a good quantity of honey to sell this year. Next week I’ll be in Russia from Monday-Thursday. I can only hope that my blog entries about buying Russian “nukes”, does not impact my immigration status.

While I was in Shenzhen, China last week, I sent Kathy a photo of the terminal, which …read more