Some look like coral, delicate pastel pinks and yellows, others like loosely furled flowers, or speckled like butterfly wings; the whole arrangement, at the farmers’ market stall, like a still life. And yet all these glorious specimens are edible as well as glamorous and exotic, artfully displayed in wooden boxes, sprigged with rosemary.
BGM, as owner Skye Johnson refers to her business, has been at the Mullum markets since the outset of Covid. ‘Covid’, she tells me, ‘forced us to shape-shift BGM and change up and rethink everything from packaging to value-added products.’ She says that it was a brush with cancer which impelled her move to the 120 acres at Windaboo, near Rosebank, about seven years ago. Up until then her ‘farm life experience… was a worm farm from Bunnings.’ It started in a garage but once four staff members had attended a mushroom cultivation course in Sydney with the crew from Milkwood, the business was up and running. ‘I have for a long time’, Skye tells me, ‘had an interest in soil and plant health as well as the medicinal/functional mushrooms and health and wellbeing benefits to both people and critters.’
Mushrooms have long been prized for their nutritional benefits – no sugar, little carbohydrate, many vitamins and minerals, and especially loads of protein – but apart from selling her fully certified organic fungi, Skye has developed a powdered mushroom and an elixir. Her partner Kris, who mans the stall, tells me the latter is ‘a brain drug’, assisting with clarity and brain function; Skye tells me her mother claims it kept Covid at bay in her system.
The powdered mushrooms, using dried oyster, shiitake, king and mixed, can be added, she says, ‘to soups, stews, pastas… for an umani flavour… we put our mushroom seasonings on practically everything!’
Byron Gourmet Mushrooms are at Mullumbimby Farmers Markets every Friday from 7 to 11am.