Growing Cordyceps the Mushroom Revival Way
Once upon a time, not really all that long ago, growing Cordyceps wasn’t possible. In fact, Cordyceps militaris has only been cultivated commercially since the 1980s and wasn't commercially cultivated in the US until 2018 (although first cultivated in the US in 1895 at Cornell University)! Even now, these mushrooms can be tricky to grow. (Not surprising when you consider Cordyceps’ origins.) Cordyceps is a super picky eater in the wild, preferring to feast only upon the caterpillars of ghost moths in the foothills of the Himalayas. What a diva!
Thankfully, the bright orange Cordyceps militaris is less finicky than Ophiocordyceps sinensis, the most revered (and selective) wild Cordyceps species. While growing Cordyceps requires a lot of know-how and a little finesse, the species we use is both comparable to the wild version and much more accessible. And, if you’re vegan, you’ll be happy to know that nary a ghost moth is lost when we grow Cordyceps militaris!
8 Things to Know About Growing Cordyceps
You can read all about our foray into mushroom farming in this blog post about Cordyceps militaris production. Here are a few facts about growing Cordyceps that may be new to you.
- We go big. Over the years, Mushroom Revival built not only the biggest but also the first and only Certified Organic Cordyceps militaris fruiting body farm in the Americas. We’re really proud of that milestone — and all the learning and shared wisdom it took for us to reach it.
- Cordyceps mushrooms don’t grow like other mushrooms. Nearly all Cordyceps militaris growers start with a supplemented rice substrate in glass jars, but now growers are starting to switch to bigger plastic bins. Think of it like congee for Cordyceps — it’s basically rice cooked in a nutrient-rich broth.
- You have to be flexible. Here at Mushroom Revival, we are constantly evolving our Cordyceps formula. We sometimes:
- change up our nutrient broth (think of it like adding different seasonings to your soup)
- adjust pH or moisture levels
- experiment with different lighting, tools, procedure, extraction methods, etc.
- try adding new and exciting ingredients
4. We don’t use single use plastic! If you’ve ever bought one of those at-home mushroom growing kits (which are fun!), you know that many producers use single use plastic bags to hold the mushroom substrate. However, we grow in reusable glass jars or big reusable plastic bins that we can use over and over— which makes us and Mother Nature happy. We’re grateful this more sustainable technique has been successful, even if it adds more work.
5. You can’t rush Cordyceps. While mushrooms notoriously experience growth spurts, you have to be patient with them! Some growers opt to make products from mycelium, but we only use the real-deal, top-notch fruiting bodies. And, we always wait for nature to tell us when it’s time to harvest and process them into your favorite high-vibe, potent products.
6. There’s a lot of science that goes into growing Cordyceps mushrooms. If you’re growing herbs or tomatoes in your home garden, for example, then you know farming can be a combination of art and science. Not so with mushrooms. We not only read up on the latest scientific research to make sure we use the best techniques and extraction methods, but we also keep things spic-and-span. Our mushrooms are grown in sterile environments.
7. Growing Cordyceps involves so. many. numbers! Yes, growing Cordyceps is hands-on work, but it also requires meticulous record-keeping. We’re Certified Organic, so we have to make sure our products go through rigorous testing.
8. We put our Cordyceps to the test. We are committed to producing THE best Cordyceps products possible. That’s why we send in our mushrooms and any other material we work with for rigorous lab testing — including heavy metal testing — and review the results and certification paperwork. Only then do we use them for our mushroom products. We do it for ourselves — and we do it for you so that you can rest assured that you’re getting the best possible Cordyceps, grown with love and integrity.