Mushroom cultivation and spawn production are boosting the income of farmers in the district, according to scientists with the Krishi Vigyan Bhavan of the Kerala Agricultural University.

Some farmers are reportedly earning more than Rs.1 lakh a month.

“Farmers in villages knew how to cultivate mushroom. But quality spawn was not available. The KVK intervened and trained farmers in spawn production,” said KAU Vice-Chancellor P. Rajendran.

Edaththadan Shaju, an Aloor-based farmer, sells 350 packets of mushroom spawn a week.

“Apart from this, mushroom sale too boots my income,” he said.

Raju, another farmer, has converted a room in his house to an air-conditioned spawn production centre. He also imparts training in spawn production.

Fathima of Kaippamangalam has found mushroom cultivation lucrative. She sells 25 kg of mushroom a week at an average price of Rs.350 a kg.

Mushrooms are a type of fungi. Cultivated mushrooms come in button, cup or flat shapes. Large flat (Portobello) mushrooms have more flavour than young buttons. Chestnut mushrooms have a slightly stronger taste and meatier texture.

Mushrooms are best used on the day of purchase.

Experts say mushrooms will keep for up to three days in the refrigerator. Mushrooms sweat if stored in plastic. They are to be kept in a paper bag or wrapped in kitchen paper.