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Fungi life. An update.

I’m not a fan of all fungi. Botrytis, for instance, is determined to ruin every last peach in the fruit bowl. I like a certain degree of fuzz, but seriously, COME ON NOW. It’s called sharing. Luckily, I’m also purposely growing some delicious fungi and slowly turning into an eccentric mushroom grower. The good kind…

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Oh my gosh you guys. I’m a little bit excited, because Milkwood has featured my foray into the world of mushroom cultivation on their wonderful blog. So you should totally head to http://www.milkwood.net and check it out. Then come eat some mushroom risotto with me in my caravan. You bring the wine, kay?

In other news, this week I went hiking in search of the ghost fungus, Omphalotus nidiformis. It’s a bioluminescent mushroom that is endemic to our local area. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. A glow-in-the-dark mushroom in my very own backyard? I had to find it. And cultivate it. And have jars of glow-in-the-dark goodness. I was having sciencey palpitations just thinking about it.

It looks like an ordinary oyster mushroom by day, but at night, it looks like this:

 

bioluminescent mushrooms
Photo courtesy of http://jurgenfreund.photoshelter.com/

 

I mean, come on. It’s gorgeous. It’s amazing.

Anyway! I went on the hunt. I clambered along creek beds, fought with leeches, traipsed in old waterways, and found lots of mycelial magic. But the prize was a sample of the ghost fungus. I carefully took it back to the lab and waited for nightfall. Would it glow? Or was it just a normal, ordinary, oyster mushroom leading me on? People, IT GLOWED. I promptly whipped up some malt extract agar and got culturing. Hopefully I’ll be able to bring you some unique night lights over the next month.

While it looks like an edible oyster mushroom, don’t put it in your face. It would be decidedly unpleasant and require a hospital visit. So don’t do that.

“But I want to eat mushrooms, not just look at them!” I hear you plead. Luckily, I’ve got you covered. My adventures also led me to a secret chanterelle patch, right in my very own 100-acre backyard. Now, this mushroom is seriously elusive. In Europe, the chanterelle is a seriously prized gourmet wild mushroom. It can’t be cultivated because it grows in association with the roots of particular trees. Because Australia is awesome, we happen to have a native species that loves to hang out with various Eucalypts. They’re only around in the late summer and early autumn, are golden, and smell like apricots. That’s Cantharellus cibarius var. australiensis for you.

The sad news – I’m not going to over-exploit this little patch. I’m going to look after it and see how it does this season. In the meantime though, you should get some phoenix oyster mushrooms on your fork. Check out @miltonmushrooms for availability. They are seriously good in a stiry fry, risotto, or with your morning eggs on toast.

See you all soon!

chantarelles

Pivotal moments

Everyone has life-changing, pivotal moments. It happened in a cottage in the woods below the Malvern Hills. I entered a world of quiet, self-sufficient industry. My bag was investigated, superfluous items discarded or donated. Food was grown or scavenged. Every week, we did the rounds, collecting boxes of over-ripe tomatoes, blemished eggplants, too-knobbly celeriac, slightly…

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It’s summer, bitches

The sun is out. There are mad tunes on the radio. The beach beckons. Yes, it’s time to live in your bathing suit, your togs, your swimmers. ALL. THE. FREAKING. TIME. Clothes? Pffft. It’s high time we were comfortable in our own skins. When it’s hot, it’s hard to be, sure. That skin is sweaty, chafes…

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Milton Mushrooms

My name’s Marita, and I live in a caravan tucked away outside Milton on the south coast of NSW. In 2015, I’m excited to be bringing you fresh, gourmet mushrooms grown right here on the farm. Introducing: Milton Mushrooms. Milton Mushrooms will be raising fine oyster mushrooms, fleshy and tasty. White oyster, Phoenix oyster, and the…

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Making a living, or making a dying?

The period between Christmas and New Year is typically one of reflection. A week of limbo and absent responsibilities. A time to just slow down and savour the simplest of things. A good meal. Waking up without an alarm. Beach. Afternoon naps. It’s increasingly becoming a time when we assess our fulfilment in life, too.…

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Eat your weeds

Stop everything. Run out into your garden. Survey that overgrown, weedy patch, and see it in a new light. It’s now a wild greens garden. ALL FOR YOU. That’s right, there’s a salad bar on your doorstep. Free, fresh salad greens. For successful Australian foraging, I heartily recommend The Weed Forager’s Handbook: A Guide to Edible…

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Pokemon vs. zoology

Admit it. Back in the 90s, you knew more about a fictional set of ‘pocket monsters’ than you did about real animals. You learned the basic tenets of evolution from a collector card game and later, your gameboy, well before it was introduced in the classroom. Your cards were your prized possessions. Key life decisions…

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Milton Faces: Meet Jacob and Santana

For a family of six children, it’s statistically improbable there would only be one son. That’d be Jacob, my 23 year old surfing bohemian brother. He’s so great you don’t need another. The beach orients his life, and he is irresistibly at peace in nature. Despite his extensive travels, he finds himself drawn back to Milton, where…

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