Production of Specialty Mushrooms in North America: Shiitake and Morels

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Abstract

There is increasing interest in the American marketplace for mushrooms other than the common white button mushroom. The trend is toward species with more flavor. Among the new mushrooms making common appearances are the oyster mushroom and shiitake, more formally known as Pleurotus spp. and Lentinula (=Lentinus) edodes, respectively. A third type of mushroom, although less common, is the morel, Morchella spp, which is just beginning to be developed commercially. Since morels and shiitake are the more flavorful of the three mushrooms and are more difficult to produce, we focus our discussion on commercial cultivation practices for these two mushrooms and the challenges ahead for making them more readily available.