Thursday, April 05, 2007

Shiitake-growing brothers extol the agricultural benefits of reggae music

Like most folks who take over a family business from their parents, Kyo and Manabu Fujimoto decided to do things a little differently than Mom and Dad. On the family farm in Tsuyama City, Japan, the twentysomething brothers made a slight change inside the greenhouses where they grow shiitake mushrooms: They installed speakers and started playing loud, thumping dancehall-style reggae music.

This decidedly modern approach to shiitake cultivation has made them locally famous (or notorious, depending on taste in music).

Initially, the brothers began playing the music simply because they liked it but soon began noticing that their shiitake were growing larger and thicker. They also claim this technique is backed up by research showing that mushrooms thrive when exposed to low-frequency sounds (such as the bass line in reggae).

So remember, gang—it's classical music for plants, reggae for mushrooms.

(This story was reported in Japanese in the February 8, 2007, online edition of the Japan Newspaper of Agriculture (Nihon Nogyo Shinbun), but by the day of this posting the article had been removed from the site. The Web, like life itself, is fleeting.)

—Mellow Monk

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