Skye Johnston always wanted to live and work on the land, but it wasn’t until she faced a serious health scare in 2016 that she made that dream a reality. ‘I thought I was going to be gone in six months,’ she said. ‘So I ended up signing on the dotted line, and moving from a 180 m2 block in Sydney to 127 acres up here in Rosebank.’
Four years later, she couldn’t be happier with her new home and new life at Windaboo, a picturesque property of rolling hills and remnant rainforest.
As well as being a healing place for Skye, Windaboo has become home to a menagerie of farm animals, a tourism venture and a new primary production business – Byron Gourmet Mushrooms.
Skye enlisted the help of former chef, Jed Wright, and friend Toby Davidson, to get the operation up and running, and the pair immersed themselves in the fascinating world of fungi growing. With Jed at the helm they have established a commercial mushroom operation supplying local shops, cafes and restaurants, and distributors, and most recently they have begun selling direct to the public at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market.
Byron Gourmet Mushrooms is certified organic, with all mushrooms grown in organic materials and by-products from local organic sugar cane, sustainable native timber plantations and pure rainwater harvested on the property.
Lions mane, shiitake, king oysters, and pearl oyster are among the seasonal array of mushrooms they produce – varieties that are often hard to find as a fresh product because of their fragile nature. They also plan to expand into medicinal varieties in the near future.
To enjoy their full flavour, Jed suggests keeping it simple. ‘Pan fry with a little bit of butter, maybe some herbs, finish with a squeeze of lemon and serve on a nice slice of sourdough.’
Mullum Farmers Market is on every Friday come rain, hail or shine.