It isn’t every day you get the chance to visit a mushroom farm! And I’ll be the first to admit that my perception of what it would be like was massively off the mark. I imagined we were heading somewhere in the Perth outer suburbs, to some cute farm with a dinky little shed that I expected to have a few rows of mushrooms in it.
Wrong wrong wrong! We were heading to the Costa Mushroom farm in Casuarina which is actually the third largest mushroom farm in Australia! There were hundreds of busy workers at the farm and they were sending out over 80 tonnes of mushrooms a week. 80 TONNES!! That is over a million mushrooms! I struggled to even get my head around that.
Mushrooms are serious business and it isn’t often that they let blow ins, such as myself, wander through their farm, but donned with the appropriate high vis and head wear our eager group set off for a tour of the operations.
We were talked through the whole process, from the specially ordered compost, which arrives from Mandurah, to hearing how the stacked wooden trays were filled with just the right levels of compost and a special blend of various different, carefully selected peats. They are looking to achieve prime mushroom growing conditions.
We then ventured inside the main shed where room after room is filled with row upon row of mushrooms, with the trays nearly reaching the ceiling! It is entirely impressive. Each room had mushrooms is varying degrees of growth. One had been planted only a few days before we arrived, so there was only slight signs of life, but as we ventured to more advanced rooms you could see the white hats of all the mushroom babies.
Then when you got into a room where there were fully grown mushrooms it was all systems go, as skilled pickers deftly went from tray to tray to pluck the awaiting mushies. Such a flurry of activity!
We were able to pick a mushroom in these rooms to eat and have to say eating a mushroom that fresh was pretty special.
Photo Credit: @morsels
From here we ventured to the room where they were sorted and finally where they were being packed and in some cases sliced too.
We were there mid morning and there were a few pallets in the chilled store room, but as we were told by 5pm that room would be full and waiting to be delivered to the various supermarkets around town. It was one hell of a polished operation!
So when you are at your local super market and see the Buy West Eat Best logo proudly emblazoned on a container of mushrooms then chances are they are a Costa Mushroom. A great way to support local.
Now I think mushrooms are just delicious. In a pie, in a soup, on a pizza, in a salad, any which way really, I’m a fan. With their rich, earthy flavour they are a great addition both on the flavour front and because of their excellent health benefits. And let me fire off a few of those:
- Rich in antioxidants that positively influence immune function
- Mushrooms naturally have vitamin D and if you put them in the sun they’ll soak up more vitamin D
- So nutrient rich! 3 button mushrooms a day give you at least 20% of the daily needs of vitamins of B2, B3, B5, biotin, D and the minerals selenium, coppre and chromium.
- Low fat, low carb and low kilojoules
- Umami – mushrooms have a savoury flavour called umami, meaning when you add them to dishes you don’t need to add as much salt.
- There’s no glutenno gluten in mushrooms for those that are gluten intolerant
- Mushrooms have been linked to cancer prevention. There are some amazing studies that show that those eating only 10g of more of mushrooms each day reduced their risk of breast cancer by over 60%. You can read more about it here.
So my thanks to lovely Noelene, Australian Mushrooms and Costa Mushrooms for this very unique and memorable experience. It has given me a much better appreciation for what it takes for those precious buttons to find their way to my table.
Photo Credit: @morsels