Shiitake mushrooms have become more and more popular, and for good reason. Rich umami flavor, robust texture and even possible health benefits make shiitake a choice mushroom for almost any cuisine. A staple in Japanese and Chinese cooking for centuries, shiitake cultivation can be traced back centuries. Growing mushrooms in bags (sometimes called “artificial logs”) is only one way to cultivate mushrooms. If shiitake spawn is grown on wooden dowels, the dowels can be driven into fresh oak logs and mushrooms can be harvested from the logs for several years. In contrast, many tons of edible mushrooms are grown in Asia on an industrial scale using mechanized filling and handling of bottles of substrate. No matter which technique, the same basic workflow is required – pure cultures, spawn, and fruiting to generate something wonderful and delicious.