Thursday, July 28, 2011

Grow your Own

I've discovered a stall at the Queen Vic market that sells mushrooms. Not just your average mushroom but all sorts of exotic mushrooms at very reasonable prices. I nearly did a little dance when I saw it because I am mushroom mad. I credit my friend Jo for the mushroom stall discovery. Jo of the "hoist a flag pizza oven" fame. I met her for a cuppa at the market last week and she put the idea in my head that I ought to expand my market experience and venture up aisle B. I only ever do aisle A. I'm a creature of habit. Monkey Man has been doing the weekly market shop for 18 years. And he's always only ever done aisle A. So I've followed his lead. He reckons aisle A is the cheapest. Makes sense to me - right on the end, less people go that far. Anyway, that's what I do. A quick waltz down aisle A with my trolley, duck over to my favourite deli and back up the street way to avoid oncoming shopping trolleys to the car. Until now. Now I go back up aisle B to stop at the mushroom stall and see what's on offer.

Yep, I love them. In fact, I have them most mornings on a bit of toast with spinach or tomato or egg and herbs. There was a time when I had to give up mushrooms for a few days and it was torture. Actually, I didn't have to give them up. I had been convinced by the crackpot in the local health food shop and google that the slight whiteness on my tongue was an internal fungal disease that was causing all sorts of problems to me but that could be cured. If I gave up mushrooms (fungus - see the connection) and spent a small fortune on herbal pills and liquids and concoctions in his shop. My sister the nutritionist did attempt to advise me that what I was doing was nonsense and had no scientific basis. Actually, I can't remember her exact words, she was certainly diplomatic. But her advice was not what I wanted to hear at the time. The "health" food shop had seduced me with assurances that my life was about to change dramatically. My eyes would sparkle, my stomach would thank me, my tongue would redden and I would certainly be a whole lot happier. So being the impressionable type, I did what I was told. Every morning one hour before eating I'd hold my nose and resist the urge to gag as I swallowed my pills and medicines. Then I'd jump into the shower, scrub myself with peppermint castille soap and at breakfast forgo my usual mushrooms for a porridge of seeds.

Until day 5 after forcing down the required concoction I vomited. And then felt dizzy and vomited again and had a roaring headache and took myself to bed for the rest of the day.

A few days later I took myself to the GP. Fortunately not the same doctor who I'd fronted a few years earlier after discovering a lump under my armpit. I discovered the lump on the drive home from my mum. Not sure what I was doing prodding about under my armpit while driving but by the end of the journey I'd convinced myself that I was dying of cancer.

Turned out to be a pimple.

Anyway, I fronted a different doctor and poked out my tongue.
"Look at my tongue. It's white."
The doctor looked at me patiently.
"Isn't that some kind of fungus?" I asked.
"It looks like there's a bit of a white casing on your tongue." He replied.
"But isn't that bad? Shouldn't I do something about that?"
After asking me about all my other symptoms (none), he sent me home.
A wee bit embarrassed.

But home to a bagful of mushrooms. Which I've been happily consuming ever since.

So back to that mushroom stall in aisle B. Not only do they sell a whole bunch of different sorts of mushrooms, but they also sell grow your own mushies. I have thought of trying to grow my own in the past but it always seems more expensive and more bother than picking up a bag at the market. But these grow your owns were only $6. And they are oyster mushrooms. If I can remember to water these mushrooms (and I've already forgotten twice) I'll be very happy.

The handwritten instructions on the sign at the stall were not very comprehensive but I quizzed the stall owner and think I'm doing it right. Spray twice a day, lie the pack on its side in a dark spot inside somewhere and chop them off when they grow and you're ready to eat. They claim they'll produce for 3-4 months. Yummo.


  1. Lurv mushies~!
    We purchase ours from the farmers markets up here in Brissy, so many varieties to choose from delish!

  2. OOOHHHH, as a mushie fiend this grow your own exotic mushrooms is so for me! Thanks for the info.

    I chuck mushrooms into EVERYTHING, much to HH´s annoyance. He picks them out and leaves them for me. Mushrooms are not to be wasted, at all.

    Tonights dinner will be a roasted vegetable frittata (sweet potato, potato, parsnip and pumpkin) with some fresh shiitakes that will be sauteed in butter.

    Poor HH.

    Lucky me :D

  3. Mmmm! Going into the city in the next few days...maybe a visit to Aisle B is in order.

  4. Wow, that is cheap for oyster mushrooms! I've wanted to try growing them for ages but, like you, I've been put off by the price. Good luck! May you grow many mushies.

  5. this had me laughing out loud. Very cute. Glad you gave aisle B a try.

  6. You are a great writer VG! I really enjoy reading your posts! I hope your mushy growing grows well!!

    The only thing that I know mushies do to the body is increase the levels of uric acid in the blood... Which is bad for people with UTIs and gout. Cranberries do the opposite!

  7. Our grow-your-own mushies didn't fare so well, mainly because we couldn't find a good humid, dark spot that we went past often enough to remember to spray them, but also, because we no doubt were trying to grow 6 million other things at the time and they got neglected. I did read on Tricia's blog how they keep them under their BBQ, so must try that one day...

    *sigh* we love mushrooms too...

  8. make sure and check out one of the milkwood mushroom courses! so worth it! these guys are great!

  9. My youngest gardener asked today if we could do the mushroom kit again. last one cost me $20 and we were lucky to get $1.50 worth of mushies from it :-( I am gowing to try getting some from the mushroom compost from the local farm that sells for $1 a bag.

  10. Mmmmmm....mushrooms. Absolutely love 'em! Never tried growing my own yet though - like you, I've always thought it seems to expensive/difficult. I await the results of your oyster mushrooms with interest.

  11. Sounds like a great discovery. Hope the home-grown ones are a success (though the stall-holder may have a different view!)

  12. Woooooooo! I'm sure we seer the same fun gi. Heehee! Love the Vic market. I love the crunchy cloud ear fungus he sells too...

  13. Thanks for that info. I'm a weekly VIC market girl and will check it out next next.

  14. I love mushrooms! They go with everything and nothing! My sister is getting me a mushroom kit for my bday, and we are all looking forward to that. Only realized last night when going through an old grass roots mag that your a contributer. I really enjoyed your article about your silkies.

  15. Mmmmm is for mushrooms. Good luck with the kit I usually have more sucess with cheap mushroom compost than a brand new kit. But I have just found a local grower who sells mushrooms for about $5 kg so I am off to visit and find out what varieties he sells.

  16. Now I'm bursting for some Vic Market action. We collect Saffron Milk Caps around here but they've finished for now so would be great to have a home grown mushy source!


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