Editor's Note: I've been growing mushrooms using the following method for a few years now. If you are interested in growing your own mushrooms I would suggest Field and Forest as a supplier for your mushroom spores.
My absolute favorite mushroom to eat is the shiitake. They are expensive to buy in the store, but the good news is that they are easy to grow at home. These flavorful and meaty delights are one of the most common mushrooms in the world and also the one with the most health benefits. Unlike any green plant, they have all of the essential amino acids. And they are good source of vitamins. Shiitake mushrooms are great for building your immune system and are antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. They are a powerhouse of nutrients and contain about 60% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 10% fiber. They are a good source of B and D vitamins which are tough to find in the plant world.
The word shiitake means “mushroom of the oak”, but it can be grown on several different hardwood logs like sugar maple, beech and ironwood. I have had the best success growing them on red oak logs. I have found that I get a little less production on sugar maple and the taste of the mushrooms seems to be a little more bland on that substrate.