Mushroom Foraging with Little Green Corner
On Sat June 26 2016– a chilly five degree morning in Bambra, the Otways – I was lucky enough to join a guided foraging group to collect edible, wild-growing pine mushrooms. The excitement leading up to this day cannot be understated for a person who’s favourite veg (well, fungus) is shrooms! Little Green Corner, a sustainable Geelong café run by Hugh Whitehead and chef Chris Welsh, organised the event to showcase local produce.
Just a small part of our harvest - lactarius deliciosus
The day began by a heavenly campfire with filter coffee, mulled apple juice, homemade granola and preserved stone fruit (perfection). A quick but essential introduction to fungi identification followed and soon we found ourselves surrounded by ample slippery jacks, saffron milk-caps and grey ghosts. An hour of foraging was more than enough to collect a couple of kilos of fresh fungi, but nowhere near long enough to take in the gentleness of the beautiful pine forest, sparking memories of finding quail nests at the nearby plantation near my grandparent’s property in Bonnie Doon as a four-year-old. Returning to the campfire, we found a steaming lunch thanks to Chris – wild mushroom risotto, fire-baked pumpkin, garlic bread and vegetable stew. YUM. Over lunch I met some really lovely people of different ages and hometowns – we all agreed that the ability to collect free, wild food is really exciting (and thanks to our modern lifestyle, foreign and exciting). Even just being outdoors, rugged up in the cold by the fire with a mug of steaming homemade mulled apple juice is enough to rejuvenate energies and reconnect with the local environment. I absolutely could not recommend this type of experience more and I plan on joining LGC and other groups on future foraging expeditions!
Note: Next time you’re in Geelong on a weekday, I highly recommend you duck into LGC for a beautifully smooth filter coffee, delicious brekkie or warm homemade lunch. These guys grow lots of their own produce and source most other things from nearby farms, while significantly cutting their waste – the way all eateries should be! So good.
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Lunch cooked on the fire on a chilly day.