Once we think of mushrooms and the southern Mexico state of Oaxaca, first thing which traditionally comes in your thoughts is María Sabina, Huautla de Jiménez and hallucinogenic “magic” mushrooms. But slowly that’s all changing as a result of the groundbreaking work of Josefina Jiménez and Johann Mathieu in mycology, through their company, Mico-lógica.
Located in the village of Benito Juárez, located in Oaxaca’s Ixtlán district (more commonly referred to as the Sierra Norte, the state’s main ecotourism region), Mico-lógica’s mission is threefold: to train both Mexicans and visitors to the country in the low-cost cultivation of a number of mushroom species; to educate in regards to the medicinal, nutritional and environmental (sustainable) value of mushrooms; and to conduct ongoing research regarding optimum climatic regions and the diversity of substrata for mushroom culture.
The French-born Mathieu moved to Mexico, and in reality to Huautla de Jiménez, in 2005. “Yes, coming all how you can Mexico from France to pursue my fascination with mushrooms appears like quite a distance to visit,” Mathieu explained in a recently available interview in Oaxaca. “But there really wasn’t much of a chance to conduct studies and grow a small business in Western Europe,” he continues, “since reverence for mushrooms had been all but completely eradicated by The Church within the length of centuries; and I learned that Mexico still maintains a respect and appreciation for the medicinal and nutritional value of hongos. Mexico is not even close to mycophobic.”
Huautla de Jiménez is more than a five hour drive from the closest metropolitan center. Accordingly, Mathieu eventually seen that residing in Huautla, while holding an historic allure and being in a geographic region conducive to dealing with mushrooms, would hinder his efforts to develop a small business and cultivate widespread fascination with studying fungi. Mathieu became cognizant of the burgeoning trustworthiness of Oaxaca’s ecotourism communities of the Sierra Norte, and indeed the Feria Regional de Hongos Silvestres (regional wild mushroom festival), held annually in Cuahimoloyas.
Mathieu met Josefina Jiménez at the summertime weekend mushroom event. Jiménez had moved to Oaxaca from hometown Mexico City in 2002. The two shared similar interests; Jiménez had studied agronomy, and for close to ten years had been dealing with sustainable agriculture projects in rural farming communities in the Huasteca Potosina region of San Luis Potosí, the mountains of Guerrero and the coast of Chiapas. Mathieu and Jiménez became business, and then life partners in Benito Juárez.
Mathieu and Jiménez are concentrating on three mushroom species within their hands-on seminars; oyster (seta), shitake and reishi. Their one-day workshops are for oyster mushrooms, and two-day clinics for the latter two species of fungus. “With reishi, and to a lesser extent shitake, we’re also teaching a reasonable bit in regards to the medicinal uses of mushrooms, so more time is necessary,” says Mathieu, “and with oyster mushrooms it’s predominantly [but not exclusively] a class on cultivation.”
While training seminars are now only given in Benito Juárez, Mathieu and Jiménez plan to expand operations to include both the central valleys and coastal regions of Oaxaca. cherry The item is to truly have a network of producers growing different mushrooms which are optimally suited to cultivation on the basis of the particular microclimate. You will find about 70 sub-species of oyster mushrooms, and thus as a species, the adaptability of the oyster mushroom to different climatic regions is remarkable. “The oyster could be grown in numerous different substrata, and that’s what we’re experimenting with at this time,” he elucidates. The oyster mushroom can thrive when grown on products which will otherwise be waste, such as for example discard from cultivating beans, sugar cane, agave (including the fibrous waste stated in mezcal distillation), peas, the normal river reed referred to as carriso, sawdust, and the list goes on. Agricultural waste which may otherwise be left to rot or be burned, each with adverse environmental implications, can form substrata for mushroom cultivation. It should be noted, though trite, that mushroom cultivation is a highly sustainable, green industry. In the last a long period Mexico has in reality been at the fore in many areas of sustainable industry.
Mathieu exemplifies how mushrooms can serve an arguably sustained environmental good:
“They could hold as much as thirty thousand times their mass, having implications for inhibiting erosion. They’ve been used to completely clean up oil spills through absorption and thus are an important vehicle for habitat restoration. Research has been done with mushrooms in the battle against carpenter ant destruction; it’s been suggested that the usage of fungi gets the potential to completely revamp the pesticide industry in an environmentally friendly way. You will find literally countless other eco-friendly applications for mushroom use, and in each case the mushroom remains an edible by-product. Take a consider the Paul Stamets YouTube lecture, 6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save The World.”
Mathieu and Jiménez can often be found selling their products on weekends in the organic markets in Oaxaca. They’re both more than happy to discuss the nutritional value of the products which range from naturally their fresh mushrooms, but also as preserves, marinated with either chipotle and nopal or jalapeño and cauliflower. The mushroom’s vitamin B12 can not be present in fruits or vegetables, and accordingly a diet which include fungi is incredibly important for vegetarians who cannot get B12, most often found in meats. Mushrooms can quickly be a substitute for meats, with the benefit they are not laden up with antibiotics and hormones often present in industrially processed meat products.
Mico-lógica also sell teas and extracts created from different mushroom species, each formulated as the nutritional supplement, or for their medicinal properties. While neither Mathieu nor Jiménez gets the pharmacological background to prescribe mycological treatment for serious ailments, Mathieu’s own research points to the medicinal usage of mushrooms dating from pre-history, to the present. He notes properties of mushrooms which can help restore the immune system, and thus the usage of fungi as a complement in the treatment of cancer and AIDS, and their utility in controlling diabetes and treating high cholesterol.