Yes! The Stropharia mushroom bale is fruiting with its first mushroom! The bugs were already enjoying the mushroom when I found it, so I left it for them to finish.
I inoculated the straw bale the mushrooms are growing in earlier this spring by soaking it in one of our ponds for a month (a spring fed, clean pond) both to get it wet and let it ferment, and to drown any fungi already in the bale. Then, after the bale had dried for a day or two, I put mycelium I had purchased into it and let it sit
The location I have the bale in is a ledge I dug in the side of the water storage ditch below my Fukuoka-style grain patch. It is somewhat shaded there inside the ditch, because the side of the ditch blocks the sunlight; but I plan for it to be much more shaded once I have plants growing on the ditch wall. The bale is also well watered there, since it is on the side of the ditch where it can suck up water, water that I didn’t have to lug up there.
Since the bale is in such a good situation, I planted tomatoes into the straw — with some compost under them so thy aren’t in pure straw. The bale was already white with wonderful smelling mycelium when I dug the holes into the bale to plant the tomatoes, so the bale should have started breaking down, and the mushrooms should be feeding the plants the straw residues, and distributing water to them. The tomatoes look pretty healthy.
I hope to colonize a few more areas in the food forest from the mycelium in this bale. You could probable guess the first place I want to colonize is my Fukuoka- style grain patch, where the mushrooms can speed up the rate of decomposition, and hence, fertility by eating the straw I harvest, feeding their leftovers nutrients to the growing grains in a form the grains can easily absorb. In between, I get really tasty mushrooms, since Stropharia is an edible kind of mushroom, and a tasty one at that, if the taste is anything like the smell. I hope to post about what they taste like soon.