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The Fine Foodie: grow your own mushrooms with Fungistobewith

PUBLISHED: 15:16 27 January 2016 | UPDATED: 15:16 27 January 2016

Fungistobewith's oyster mushroom Book Recycling Kit

Fungistobewith's oyster mushroom Book Recycling Kit

sharon struckman

Sharon Struckman finds a sprouting business providing all you need to grow your own exotic mushrooms

Have you ever tried growing your own mushrooms? I just have – oyster mushrooms in an old book and shiitake mushrooms on a wooden log in my back garden.

I found out how to do it after I discovered an unusual business at the Hertford Food and Drink Festival, Fungistobewith, run by Darren and Dawn King. King’s fascination for fungi started aged eight when he undertook a project on mushrooms for a nature badge from his Cubs pack. His passion has evolved over the years and now he sells mushroom growing kits as well as a wide selection of fresh fungi at food and farmers’ markets around Hertfordshire.

To start with, I bought one of the book recycling kits to grow my own oyster mushrooms as King said they are by far the easiest to cultivate of all the edible fungi. These exotic mushrooms, with their delicate coral-like frills, are as delicious as they are beautiful and they really do require minimal attention, making them the perfect rookie’s introduction to fungiculture while giving growers untold pleasure as they watch them sprout. As oyster mushrooms have a delicate taste, I cooked them in risottos and added them to soups as well as to creamy pasta sauces.

The Kings sell a variety of kits for growing mushrooms. The paperback book worked a treat, but you could also try one of the inoculated logs, which will give you a harvest of shiitake, enoki, lion’s mane or one of three varieties of oyster mushrooms. The kits come with full instructions; all you need is a shady spot in the garden and you will be on your way to growing your own fresh, beautiful, sustainable produce. The kits also make unusual gifts for food lovers (and budding naturalists).

Find Fungistobewith at Hertford and Hitchin farmers’ markets as well as food festivals in the county or visit the website

Sharon Struckman is a food writer and photographer at


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