Seeking Log “Bolts” for Shiitake Mushroom Production in New York State Cornell Small Farms Program

Joshua VanBrakle Tuesday, 11 April 2017

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Shiitake mushrooms are farmed on small log “bolts” like these. Even if you don’t intend to grow mushrooms yourself, you may be able to sell bolts to mushroom farmers and make a profit.

The Cornell Small Farms Program is engaged in a project to support log-grown shiitake mushrooms as a new farm enterprise in New York State. The program is actively training and supporting growers around the state to develop viable plans and scale up to commercial production.

One emerging need for aspiring growers is to source sustainably harvested small diameter logs, known as "bolts," for production. Bolts need to be free of defects and scarring on the bark, and are usually around 4 - 8" in diameter and about 36" long. Suitable species include Oak, Sugar Maple, Beech, and several others.

Firewood dealers, loggers, arborists, farmers, and landowners are encouraged to read this factsheet outlining the details of buying and selling bolts for shiitake production, and submit a listing to our online directory if interested in offering bolts for sale to others. If you’re interested in growing shiitake mushrooms yourself, check out these mushroom farming resources on MyWoodlot.

The economics of selling bolts can be very profitable, as the going price for delivered bolts equals around $2 - $3 per bolt. Extra care and attention must be paid to ensure the quality of the logs is maintained during harvest and transport.

Bolts should be harvested as part of sustainable forestry practices. The fact sheet outlines resources and considerations to ensure management supports the long-term health of New York's forested lands. You may be able to produce bolts while doing other projects on your land, such as woodlot improvement cuts.

Learn more at: www.CornellMushrooms.org/suppliers.

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