Our fondness for fungi stems from happy memories wild foraging field mushrooms as children. Out in nature discovering bizarre and beautiful fungal form in the bushland. Shop-bought mushrooms were a regular part of our diet and with two daughters training as chefs and focusing on plant based foods, a deeper appreciation of fungi developed.
Josef and Aidan attended a workshop on growing shiitake on logs in 2018 and there was some early success growing this delicious mushroom in amongst our orchids. A desire to fill a new abundance of time in retirement with something that would be challenging, fun and rewarding, as well as a fantastic source of a super-healthy food and a combatant to dementia, lead to the creation of Flooding Creek Fungi.
We buy mycelium - the thread like body of fungi that colonises a suitable substrate - as grain spawn, then we mix the spawn with a sterilised substrate. A lot of work is done in front of a ‘flow hood’, which filters the air to minimise competitor fungi while our preferred mycelium ‘runs’. Sawdust and straw are our two main substrates. Certain varieties favour different substrates and cultural methods. All our mushrooms require bright light and constant fresh air exchange to fruit abundantly.
A couple of structures in our yard have been repurposed, largely with recycled building materials, to create the right conditions to grow a variety of mushrooms and other fungi using bag culture. One room is the temperature controlled ‘incubator’ and the other room is temperature, light and humidity controlled and is our ‘grow room’.
Our oyster mushrooms grow from the holes of perforated plastic bags on straw substrate, after incubating for between three and five weeks. The bags produce two or three ‘flushes’ of mushrooms before the bags are recycled and the spent straw goes on our garden beds as compost. Other varieties that we grow, like Lions Mane and Reishi are grown in smaller purpose made clear plastic bags and sawdust. The bags hang in our grow room until they have finished incubating and are ready to produce spore bodies: the parts we harvest and eat.
Gippsland’s vibrant food and fibre production and processing sector plays a major role in the region’s economy and the resilience of its communities. It also contributes significantly to the Victorian economy.
Gippsland’s abundant quality produce is enjoyed by consumers locally, in Melbourne, as well as across other parts of Victoria, Australia and the world.
Food & Fibre Gippsland aims to be an integral support and stakeholder in projects, initiatives and activities that make a positive impact on productivity, profitability, prosperity, people and in the bigger picture, the planet.