Forest Retreats Mushroom Cultivation Workshop

I was honored to receive a very kind invitation recently from Tim Hensley and Jane Post to visit them at their beautiful farm just outside of Berea. Tim and Jane are organic gardeners, mushroom growers, and generally awesome people who host several workshops (called Forest Retreats) on their farm every year.

I am a big proponent of farms including educational opportunities as part of their business plan. There are so many people right now who want to learn the lost art of self-reliance. If you have those skills, why not teach others? This helps build stronger communities and a more stable food supply.

I attended Tim and Jane’s mushroom cultivation workshop. This included two meals, instruction on several methods of mushroom inoculation, inoculated logs and spawn to go home, and even fresh mushrooms that we harvested that day! In other words, an unbelievable value. I’ve done several mushroom workshops in my time—one of my minor obsessions—and this was by far the most practical and the most in-depth. So in-depth that I felt inspired to go home and help friends inoculate well over a hundred logs and loved it.

Having done many rounds of the old-fashioned drill/plug/wax method, it was a complete relief to learn Tim’s method of inoculating logs for shiitake and oyster. It is much simpler, just as effective, and a huge time saver. It involves a chainsaw and duct tape. I’d do the step-by-step here, but you really need to see Tim do it in person to get the full effect.

If I had gone alone, I would have found the workshop informative and fun. But the best part of the day, by far, was the fact that the small group (around 15 of us) was full of people as crazy about sustainability and self-reliance as I am! I made lots of new friends and even had a chance to meet some cool people who actually take the time to read this blog. (You can read another post about the day from my friends at Earthineer, too.)

You can read Tim and Jane’s full workshop schedule on their website—they offer several throughout the year. But here’s a look at what’s coming up next:

April 13th — Morel Mushroom Foray Retreat / Registration deadline is April 6th REGISTRATION FULL
May 18th — Wild Foods Retreat / Registration deadline is May 11th
August 10th — Organic Gardening Workshop / Registration deadline: August 3rd
October 5th — Autumn Wild Mushroom Retreat / Registration deadline: September 28th
October 26th — Gourmet Mushroom Cultivation Workshop / Registration deadline:October 18th

I so wish that my schedule allowed for me to attend every one of these. (Especially the wild mushroom ones!) I talked to Tim on the phone this week and he told me that the April 13th morel hunt was full… but if the season goes well and the morels are still popping the next weekend, he may do an additional retreat on April 20th. So definitely call him if that interests you—and who isn’t interested in morels?


I don’t want much in life, but if I could fall in love and grow old with someone in a cabin that looks like this… I can’t imagine anything more blissful!



The mushroom master, Tim Hensley, teaching us the totem method for inoculating logs


Tim and Jane’s earthen oven was built using the principles in this book during a weekend work party and has been put to use for many years since. Perfect for baking pizzas and granola!


Tim and Jane’s property includes overnight accommodations for guests


Pallet composting


The “trouthouse,” a tree outhouse, with a composting toilet


Tim and Jane have a brilliant terraced garden area. I’m dying to see it in the spring!


Winter gardening under cover.


Many of the structures on the farm were built using trees from the property that were brought out of the forest with horse power and milled on site!


The mushroom garden… it’s a beautiful thing!


More mushroom garden…


Tim doesn’t have a count of exactly how many logs he has… but my guess is that it is a lot.




The underside of a shiitake mushroom… You need to look here to see if the mushroom is ready to harvest!


The root cellar, or maybe a secret door to Middle Earth


The mushroom library


Workshop in progress

mushroom13 mushroom14

I am so thankful that my work with Sustainable Kentucky has opened up opportunities to do things like this. In accordance with the FTC guidelines, I need to tell you that Tim and Jane allowed me to attend this class for free in hopes that I would write about it on the blog. However, I would have gone anyway and loved it just the same!

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3 Responses to “Forest Retreats Mushroom Cultivation Workshop”

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