March 7, 2013
‘A Slice of
Life in Marshall County’
There are mushroom experts in the woods in Marshall County and two of them have started a business growing edible mushrooms.
Ben and Nichole Dickey have established a laboratory and grow a few common varieties of edible mushrooms for the market. Their business, Dickey Farms Mushrooms, is just a fledgling one, but they hope the word spreads and more people want mushrooms for their table.
Some of the varieties have medicinal properties that help push back infections and maybe cancer before they take ahold.
The Dickeys were originally living in Memphis, Tenn., and grew mushrooms on logs as a hobby. As their interest grew, they moved to Potts Camp to live with Dorothy and George Dickey, Ben’s grandparents. They were offered an unoccupied house to live in while they work at their new enterprise.
The varieties are purchased as subcultures from mycologist Paul Stamets of Washington state.
But the real interest in mushrooms began when Ben and Nichole found some edible ones in the Holly Springs National Forest when they were just visiting the grandparents on weekends.
“There are a lot of great mushrooms that grow in our area, if you know what you are looking for,” Nichole Dickey said. “You definitely need a guide.
“Oyster mushrooms were growing in the forest and we looked into how to cultivate them.”
The name comes from the flavor that resembles oysters, she said.
“We enjoyed hunting mushrooms so much that, after we married, Ben’s parents sent us to Washington for our honeymoon and we studied under Stamets,” Nichole said.
Word has spread that the Dickeys know their mushrooms and they will hold a cultivation class at Strawberry Plains Audubon March 23 at 1 p.m. The class will cover the fundamentals of fungi, an introduction to mushrooming for gardeners, and maybe a taste of mushroom tea.
“We encourage people to stick to a few mushrooms that are easy to identify,” she said.
Certain mushrooms are simmered to extract the natural (herbal) medicines out of the fruiting bodies.
Some common names of the varieties the Dickeys cultivate include Lions Mane, a popular one that tastes like lobster when sautéed in butter. Another name is pom pom blanc, a variety with medicinal properties.
Four other varieties that have medicinal properties are Shiitake, Pioppino, King Oyster and Mameko. Almost all of them have cholesterol-lowering properties, and some have anti-viral and anti-fungal properties or have been used in cancer research.
The King Oyster variety is used to flavor vegetarian dishes with a taste like scallops.
The cultures are kept in an environmentally controlled building under conditions that favor the growth of these fungi.
Nichole said the starter cultures are kept in test tubes on slants, then propagated in petri dish-like vessels. From there they are cultured in grain and then these cultures are transferred to blocks consisting of wood chips and sawdust. No chemicals or pesticides are used in the production of the mushrooms.
The Dickeys sell their products at the farmers market at Cooper and Young in Memphis. They expect to take their products to the farmers market on Scott Street after it opens in April.
For more about edible mushroom identification and culture, call the Dickeys at 1-901-486-4469 or go to their website at www.dickeyfarmsmushrooms.com.
News: (662) 252-4261 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax: (662) 252-3388
Questions, comments, corrections: email@example.com
The South Reporter
P.O. Box 278
Holly Springs, MS 38635
©2004, The South Reporter, All Rights Reserved.
No part of this site may be reproduced in any way without permission.
The South Reporter is a member of the Mississippi Press Association.
Site managed and maintained by
South Reporter webmasters Linda Jones, Kristian Jones
Web Site Design - The South Reporter
Back | Top of Page