By popular demand here is a list of frequently asked questions
Q: Why choose Santacruzsubstrates over other substrate vendors?
A: We started making substrate for our friends, our family, and ourselves because we only wanted to consume quality produce. Our goal is not to make as much money as possible or to rip anyone off but only to provide the most honest nutrition for our bodies and our brains. We want to pass that onto our customers because we believe that a mentally and physically healthy community will make this world a better place.
Q: How are your products pasteurized?
A: We have a three-step process. 1st we allow the manure to pasteurize in our cement compost bays; they heat up to 135 F with the help of native microbes through a process of thermogenesis. 2nd we soak about a yard of compost at a time in a hot water bath at 160F for 5 hours then we drain and allow the moisture to evaporate to the perfect holding capacity for mushroom cultivation. 3rd our products are loaded into food safe bags and steam pasteurized for 5 hours, each bag is checked with an external thermometer to ensure correct pasteurization has occurred.
Q: Pasteurization VS. Sterilization?
A: A manure-based substrate should never be sterilized in our opinion. The reason being manure substrates work symbiotically with microbes found in the manure to provide a healthier and more productive mycelial network. By sterilizing you kill all microbial life. With the correct pasteurization process we can ensure only the good microbes stick around.
A2: we do choose to sterilize our wood based substrate for two reasons 1st because it is lacking the beneficial microbes and 2nd it is the law to sterilize all wood products leaving the state of California.
Q: what is the shelf life of the 50/50 substrate?
A: our product has a 3 to 4 week shelf life if kept at room temperature. If the product sits more than 4 weeks the issue will not be contamination but it will loose its perfect moisture content due to evaporation. This can be fixed by adding a few tablespoons of sterilized water when spawning. To prolong the shelf life our products can be refrigerated or frozen for 6+ months.
Q: I received my 50/50 substrate in the mail and the top of it looks dry?
A: During shipping the package may go through a drastic temperature change and the result is the moisture will recede to the center of the substrate bag. A little shake will help redistribute the moisture throughout the substrate. If you notice this and you just received your package and the rubber band is intact we can guarantee that it still has the correct moisture content.
Q: why does the 50/50 substrate come with a rubber band around the bag?
A: This is to allow respiration for the beneficial microbes. The wonderful microbes that make our substrate so special are aerobic (meaning they need to breathe oxygen to survive) if the substrate is sealed or tied shut the substrate will become anaerobic (meaning non beneficial bacteria that do not like oxygen will take over the substrate) leaving it very susceptible to contamination.
Q: will sawdust spawn grown lion’s mane?
A: yes it will.
Q: what kind of mushrooms can I grow in the 50/50 substrate?
A: Any manure loving variety of mushroom. We choose to and recommend to only grow mushroom cultivars allowed in your state. We find all types of Stropharia do very well in our 50/50. Along with Crimini, Portabella and some cultivars of oyster and many more.
Q: can I grow “magic” mushrooms in the 50/50 substrate?
A: “magic” mushrooms used to be included in the Stropharia genus. Unfortunately here in California we do not have the privilege to do research with “magic” mushrooms (those lucky enough to live in a state where research is permitted have reported our substrate does very well with "cubes"). But we are very fortunate to be able to legally work with their VERY very closely related cousin Stropharia which allow us to perfect our craft without breaking the law.
Q: how do I freeze my substrate to prolong its shelf life?
A: we recommend removing the rubber band and squeezing any air in the bag out and tying it closed then placing it in the freezer (it will not need to breathe in the freezer because it will be dormant). When you are ready to thaw your substrate remove it from the freezer untie the bag and replace the rubber band to allow the microbes to breathe once it is thawed.
Thanks and if your have any suggested questions please email us and we will add them to the list.