Het Fang (Straw Mushroom)

The Straw Mushroom (Volvariella volvacea) is probably Thailand’s best-known type and one of the tastiest. Both its English and Thai name (het fang / เห็ดฟาง) refer to straw as the medium on which it is usually grown. It somewhat resembles the champignon, however, the cap of the young specimens is not flattened but characteristically dome-shaped, and has a light greyish or yellowish tint. The immature stages of both are generally preferred to the fully developed ones. The straw mushroom is sweeter and most people find its taste superior to the champignon’s. Stirred with sweet baby corn and shrimps or chopped chicken, it makes the delicious rice-based dish phat khao phot het fang / ผัดข้าวโพดเห็ดฟาง. It is also a major ingredient in tom yam kung / ต้มยำกุ้ง, a spicy, sour curry with shrimp, considered one of the best examples of ‘classic’ Thai cuisine.

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Unlike your type of mushrooms, ours thrive on heat. We can’t use the misting fans because our mushrooms grow on shelves ( and under the shelves ). We have four shelves on each side of the houses, each shelf is about a metre wide and 6 metres long so our grow beds per house ( of which we have 3 ), are about 48 square metres and then there’s the undersides too giving a theoretical growing area of 96 square metres per house.

We emptied out our shelves 4 days ago. This growing medium makes some of the best compost and we have a queue of people waiting for it so it goes from the shelves straight into trucks or pickups. We sell the growing medium for 1500 baht and whoever wants it has to pay for the labour too. We sometimes use it on our sugarcane too with good effect. The new mansampalang/casava was delivered last friday, mixed and covered to ferment a bit. We’ll be putting this on the shelves this thursday ( what fun ). This will then be left for a few days before we ( read I ) have to steam the houses prior to putting in the new spores and hopefully another bumper crop. Total achieved for the last growing period including selling the growing medium was 28000 baht.

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