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Mushrooms Right from Your Farm
Oyster mushrooms are the most commonly cultivated mushrooms (by hobbiests) in the US. They are considered to be the easiest. But they are also a mushroom that comes in so many different varieties that you'll have trouble telling people what an Oyster mushroom tastes like, and you can't really say that you like them or dislike them unless you've tried an assortment.
They are named for the curved shape of the mushroom, which has a stem that grows on one side of the cap instead of from the middle. Some kinds DO have a fishy smell, but usually after they've aged a bit.
It grows traditionally on logs, but has been induced to grow in sawdust, partially used logs from other mushroom cultivation, even toilet paper rolls (though we feel that the chemicals in TP would be inadvisable in a growing medium if you want healthy and nutritious mushrooms).
Pleurotus Ostreatus is the most commonly NAMED Oyster mushroom, but many of the mushrooms being sold under that name (including grow kits) are actually Pleurotus Pulmonarius.
Pleurotus Ostreatus grows on hardwood sawdust, logs, or debris. Generally referred to as Pearl Oyster, or Gray Oyster. They may be cream colored or gray, and range from dark to light in the color spectrum.
Pleurotus Pulmonarius grows on just about any wood - including sawdust, debris, and logs. It is referred to as Phoenix Oyster. The color ranges from a light creamy brown to a medium gray-brown, with a lighter area near the stem. The color is typically described as being lighter colored than gray Ostreatus, but in fact it may be much darker if the mushrooms are grown in a greenhouse, or other well-lighted spaces.
Pleurotus Populinus is the Aspen Oyster, which grows on Aspen, Cottonwood, Birch, and Alder. It is a cream to tan colored mushroom, with white spores, which is considered a choice edible.
Oyster mushrooms generally make good animal feed for cows, pigs, goats, sheep, and for limited use with chickens, guineas, turkeys, and quail.
Pleurotus varieties may have health benefits for optimizing blood circulation.