Two pieces of delightful trivia about Shroom Brothers’ Andrew Mohanu: the Romanian town where he was born was about 20km away from Dracula’s Castle. As a young boy he tried growing mushrooms in his parent’s closet, an experiment they were not impressed by.
That act, however, was but a precursor to the career Andrew now enjoys.
‘I love growing mushrooms!’ he exclaims to me. ‘Possibly too much.’
Based at Stoker’s Siding, this one-time radiation therapist (third bit of trivia) has been operating since 2015, together with his ‘little’ brother Abel, all 6 ft 4” of him. Andrew tells me that the research began two years before that – ‘mostly from American YouTube channels.’ They cultivate the type of mushroom commonly regarded as ‘specialty’: oyster and king oyster, shiitake and lion’s mane, mushrooms loved by chefs and gourmet cooks.Spray-free and glamorous.
Harvesting them, Andrew tells me, is a daily necessity. ‘However’, he adds, ‘we observe the Sabbath, which basically means that we consider Saturday as a day of rest and we do not work from sunset time on Fridays to sunset time on Saturdays.’ All very civilised – except it does mean Saturday nights see them frantically harvesting, other family members roped in to help as well. They have a special misting system for the mushrooms that creates ‘ultra-fine water particles’, required for dry days. ‘When our misting system is activated you can’t even see up to a metre in front of you’, says Andrew.
We both agree that optimal cooking for mushrooms is quickly, on a high heat, ‘definitely with olive oil or butter’, he adds. Or both. And garlic. Those king oysters, fat creamy stems and brown hats, thickly sliced, are sensational fried, tossed till golden and fragrant, tumbled onto sourdough toast.
Shroom Bros are at Mullumbimby Farmers Market on Fridays from 7–11am.