March is our celebration month as it is SharLeBel’s third birthday. Thanks to all our customers, families and friends for their support during this time. This is a short version of the last 3 years.
Year 1 : 2014 – The Start: Charlene started with the planning and feasibility study. She did the Gourmet Mushroom Cultivation course with Dr W Adriaan Smit at the South African Mushroom Academy. Thereafter, Charlene and Lenette did a practical Shiitake course with the lovely and passionate Craig and Nikki from Mushroom Guru (www.mushroomguru.co.za). We also visited a few mushroom farmers to get a better understanding of the operations on mushroom farming. Then the planning started and we put together a business and financial plan. We bought the first Greenhouse of 2m x3m, which we used as spawning and production room. It could keep 60 spawn bags and 60 substrate blocks. The rest of the year was spent on testing substrate recipes, getting equipment that worked, finalizing our processes and paid some “school fees”. The life span of the Shiitake substrate block is 200 days. We realised that you would only know during the first 70 days whether the inoculation/spawning process had indeed been successful. The full success of the particular batch can only be measured after the last harvest day which is around 200 days. We proudly produced 37kg fresh Shiitake during our first year. By the end of the first year we sold our first fresh and dried shiitake in the market.