Hi there! I’m still here shrooming along, but I’ve made the decision this year to down-scale production and spend more time in the shroom lab, which is why I’ve been missing in action at the farmers’ markets. Although I really miss seeing your smiling faces on the regular, I just can’t do it all! But don’t…Read More
Picture this: it’s just after 9am on a Monday morning, and the Baptist Church is thrumming with over 130 gardeners from our local area. Tables laden with flowering plants, sub-committees, and sign-up sheets line the walls. A tea and biscuit service is prepared with military precision. Every member is bedecked with an engraved name tag, smiling and radiating the sort…Read More
Want to start a mushroom growing business, but worried that you need a crazy amount of infrastructure, time and money? Don’t worry. You can be up and growing with a simple, cost-effective system and a bit of ingenuity. Here’s how. 1. Get skilled up. First up, you need to skill up. Milkwood Permaculture’s Gourmet Mushroom…Read More
It was basically a weeklong special United Nations meeting on biodiversity. Every (packed) forum and conference talk was live translated into multiple languages straight into your headset. Simply listen and marvel as Italian, German, Japanese and more are rendered accessible to you. All to discuss sustainable food futures. It still blows my mind (even the…Read More
It’s been an exciting first year of growing mushrooms for market; a steep learning curve that’s seen me make plenty of new farmer mentors and friends. I’m indebted to the support of both the burgeoning Gaia Farmers Market in Ulladulla and the well-established SAGE Farmers Market in Moruya. Rad people abound at both markets (too…Read More
In mid August a convoy of keen photographers turned up at the farm with lenses, flashes, backdrop screens and plenty of gusto. They were here to take some mycelial blocks for a spin in the sunshine to capture their good sides. The Milton Ulladulla Districts Camera Club was out in full force and it was…Read More
You make friends with mushrooms. A few weeks ago I met three very inspiring ladies on the forefront of Australian permaculture: Kirsten of Milkwood Permaculture, Fiona of Buena Vista Farm and Annie of Autumn Farm Bega. These women are the movers and shakers of the sustainable south coast. They’re passionate about home-grown, home-reared and home-sheared produce…Read More
This year, TEDX Sydney was all about unusual food that pushes our dinner plate boundaries. The Rebel Food event curated by Jess Miller definitely delivered. You’ve probably seen the BuzzFeed article documenting what was on offer to attendees (if not, check it out here). There were bugs (cricket muesli, ant butter, mealworm sprinkles) unusual meats (crocodile and boar…Read More
Milton Mushrooms now has an official website. Check it out at http://www.miltonmushrooms.com.au. If you’re interested in a no-fuss way to grow your own mushrooms, get yourself an oyster mushroom grow kit and watch some mycelial magic unfold. If you’ve got a lab setup, check out our selection of live cultures. We’ll be adding even more…Read More
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:
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!