So maybe ‘seed company’ isn’t the right word, but Fungi Perfecti should absolutely be on your list. Fungi have a perfect place in both a forest garden and a standard one. Bonus, these ones are pretty much all edible and/or medicinal.
Still owned by a single family who started it in 1980, Fungi Perfecti is focused on promoting the cultivation of gourmet and medical mushrooms. They aren’t just sellers of mushroom spawns, but also have worked to create a collection of books and technology relating to the unusual kingdom of fungi.
The website is pretty strait forward. The free catalog button is front and center for easy of location and the kits and spawns (the part most relating to the topic of this series) is located towards the left of the green top bar. Beyond this, you have all sorts of potential things you can look into. There’s a newsletter, a series of informative articles, equipment and even seminars.
As you might expect of a company with so many broad interests in mushrooms, there is a lot going on in their catalog. Still, it isn’t hard to find what you are looking for and there is useful information included. Some mushrooms indicate temperature ranges for fruiting and most include how to gain optimal growth.
None that I am aware of. At the moment, I don’t believe Biotech has their sights set on any of the mushrooms sold through Fungi Pefecti though either. In truth, the are pretty silent on all of the standard things I look for in a company’s seed policy. Still, this is pretty much the only big company selling some of these great mushroom spawns to the public. They also make note that they sell to the organic community, which seems to indicate that GMOs are not anywhere in their catalog.
Where the seeds come from
Again, seeds is not the right word, but they grow all of their spawns and plugs themselves. The sterile cultures are grown through the sexual mating of germinated spores. You might wonder why that matters? It means you get some genetic diversity in your fungi. I don’t know that any other company that is known to the organic community where you know the mushroom spawn is grown out from unique cultures each time. I suspect many companies are selling only one genetic source grown out so each is an identical clone. (The apple orchard situation where everything is one genetic variation and all prone to the exact same problem)
Pricing and Shipping
Not cheap. Not cheap compared to a seed pack at least. Expect to put out some funds for these plugs and spawns if you want more than one or two varieties. 100 plugs generally runs 15 dollars, 25 dollars for most of the kits and high quality cultures start at 70 dollars and go up from there. There is one odd exception to the cost of the high quality cultures, starting at 20 dollars due to how it is cultured.
They have a lot of medicinal fungi products for sale in case you don’t want to grow a large number of variations yourself or are unable. Despite having so many types of spawn available, there are dozens more that are grown only in exotic locations or specific climate zones that can be purchased in dried form or otherwise. If you’re really interested in fungi, this might be a great place to look for all things relating.
Looking to the future
Business as usual here. People passionate about fungus and who are just going to keep looking for new market varieties to offer. They’ll keep adding products relating to mushrooms as well and keep advocating for the symbiotic relationship between fungi and the rest of your garden.
Over two dozen different fungi for you to grow at home means this company blows every other seed-focused company out of the water for options. There was a time I was very impressed that one of my catalog companies was offering six different types of mushroom spawn (followed by disappointment a few years later when they dropped down to just two again). Now, there are more variations than I have the space for thanks to Fungi Perfecti. Give them a look and see if there isn’t something that really catches your eye. I’d recommend a few, but there are honestly so many great ones to choose from. Conventional buttons, portobello and shiitake are all options of course, but then there’s lion’s mane, chicken of the woods, blue oyster and even morels!