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Friday, February 19

Leave Me In the Dark (Keri Noble)

FAN FIELD TRIP FRIDAY! (scroll to bottom for unit study)  
In the science world, the study of fungi is known as mycology. Fungi (which is plural for fungus) were once thought to be a kind of plant; however, today they are considered to be more closely related to animals. Fungi (along with bacteria) are our primary decomposers, meaning they break down plant and animal material. 

Fungi are very important, not only because they are decomposers (can you imagine a world where dead things did not break down?), but also because it is through fungi that we get yeast to make our bread rise and antibiotics to make us healthy when we get sick. Some fungi are edible, but many are poisonous. 

Did you know that people with penicillin allergies generally cannot work at a mushroom farm?    
  • The reason people with penicillin allergies tend not to be able to work at mushroom farms is due to the sheer number of molds that mushrooms are susceptible to.

 Hmm.. what else did we learn on trip to the Whitecrest Mushrooms factory in Ontario, Canada?
  • Mushrooms can carry a variety of diseases, so growing them in a sterilized environment keeps them clean.  The farm we went to had a big fire a while back and since then moved away from wooden beds (which apparently are still quite common) to these metal beds we see here.
They were stacked I think about five high with about two feet clearance between each row.   Whitecrest only grows cremini and portabella mushrooms, and these mushrooms can double their size in a 24 hour period.   I got the impression that if you buy these types of mushrooms in southwestern Ontario, they are most likely from Whitecrest, just sold and packaged differently depending on the needs of the marketer.
This section of the bed has been treated with salt.   It kills the mold and gets rid of "wet spots."  The picture beside it is another illness mushrooms get.  They have to keep a strong handle on mold because if they don't, it can quickly overwhelm a mushroom farm.   That gets really expensive, really quickly!

I happen to love mushrooms, and made that fact clear to the presenters, and they graciously allowed us to sample their merchandise.   Mmmm... Fresh picked creminis... YUM!    We had a hard time restraining ourselves after we got permission to enjoy them.   I thought it interesting how many of the moms along didn't like mushrooms and the noses wrinkled when we enjoyed them.

Did you know that if you leave a mushroom in the sun for five minutes you will get your daily dose of Vitamin D?
  • You can even run them under a UV light, and they will get 300% Vitamin D; that will carry over into the store until they are purchased!
  • To get more Vitamin D into foods, Whitecrest Mushrooms is investigating ways to make more use of mushrooms, from putting them into burgers, grinding them into a powder, and adding them to breads, stews, soups, and other things.

Each of the children in our group was able to enjoy a ride on the lift up and down the racks.   My son tried hard to convince me to go on it but I'm not into heights and therefore declined the invitation.

We were taken through the various sections of the plant.   From the growing rooms, to how they move the mushrooms from one part to another, the chilling room (if you change the temperature of a mushroom too quickly you will lose one week off it's life), to the packaging area.   It was quite a fascinating tour.  I have to admit, I hoped that they would send us each home with a package of mushrooms....

Safety Note :  Please do not eat mushrooms unless you know for sure what species they are, and that they are safe!!!

Mushrooms & Fungi Unit


Today's fan field trip comes from Annette @ A Net In Time.    She is a multi-faceted person who is a lover of God, pastor's wife, mother of one, reader of books, blogger, raiser of rabbits, home-educating parent who reads much, reviews materials, laughs often and somehow manages to get through her days by the grace of God. You can find her at A Net In Time (schooling/review blog), AT Home Pets (rabbit blog), and Fish and Cans (bible/devotional Blog).   

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