You might remember in one of my previous posts, I made a mushroom Risotto using the beautiful mushrooms from Li Sun exotic Mushrooms who, lucky for us are in the Southern Highlands in Mittagong. Months ago Jamie Oliver had visited the disused railway tunnel, where the mushrooms are grown and the photo that was posted on social media was amazing. That's when I found out that they conducted mushroom tunnel tours......I wasn't going to miss out on this......
Jill met us at the tourist information centre and we hopped on a little bus......even though I live in the Southern Highlands, I really felt like a tourist. Jill is from Foodpath and conducts personalised farm tours and workshops in the Southern Highlands, I would highly recommend, if you are ever visiting the Southern Highlands, to book in on one of her tours they are great.
Let the tour begin.... I had no idea what to expect.....other than, dress warmly, wear sturdy shoes, as it gets slippery and it is going to be rather dark. Great for taking photos....???
The thing that struck me first up was how damp it was! My camera lens kept fogging up, like I was in a tropical jungle in the Daintree.....except it was 16 degrees. It was actually much warmer than outside which was a pleasant surprise. At the moment anything is warmer than being outside in the Highlands! I had envisaged it being freezing and had dressed accordingly.....thermals etc etc......overkill. The air felt alive with spores, or was that my imagination? The tunnel seemed to stretch off forever into the distance.
Millions of living spores feeding of a sawdust mixture to create these beautiful and sculptural mushrooms. The tunnel mimics the growing conditions that the mushrooms need. They originated in the mountainous regions of Korea, Japan and China....cool and humid and that's what they are getting here..... obviously loving it. Noel produces 1.5 tonnes of mushrooms per week and has 17 pickers helping out. WOW what an enterprise!
Shitake best know in Asia for longevity!
Did you know Australians are the second biggest consumers of white button mushrooms after the French. (I learnt that today). Noel has mushroom facts that just roll out continuously. An amazing man!
As we say goodbye we get to take home a little pack of mushrooms as a souvenir of our tour through the mushroom tunnel I will never take a mushroom for granted again. A valuable food source and so so good for you. Thank you Noel and Jill.
Have you ever been on an amazing food tour? Love to hear all about it.....