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Exclusive Fungi launched in the UK


27th February 2007
For immediate Release
If you have ever been on a foray for mushrooms, you’ll understand the trials and tribulations in finding a secret gourmet supply, and will have heard tales from like-minded folk of ‘the one that got away’. With demand for specialty mushrooms at a high amongst chefs and the ‘Jamie Oliver generation’ at home, pickings are often exhausted in the woods, before they are even found. With this in mind, wouldn’t it be great if you could simply grow your own supply in the back garden? We thought so! Now, Gardening Express, a leading online Garden Centre have a breakthrough product that will allow you to do just that. It may sound like something from a student’s fridge, but these latest fungi examples are edible; exclusive, and a first of their kind in the UK, developed following on from research in the USA.

Gardening Express have been selling a wide range of mushroom growing cultures for sometime, from the ordinary varieties seen in the supermarkets, to the more exotic kinds that have to be grown on special logs. With regular requests for the more elusive types – the kind chefs use in high-class restaurants – the company have now developed a number of kits that allow gourmet varieties with names such as Wine Caps, Blewitts, and the jewel in the crown, Morels to be grown at home.

Morels have never yet been successfully farmed, and the commercial morel industry is based on harvest of wild mushrooms explains Chris Bonnett, the man behind Gardening Express. “We have a culture and technique that will at least produce good results for home growers. We’re very excited about these, and think this is potentially the technique to grow the elusive morel on a commercial scale.”

With the price of frozen morels at £49 per kilo in London, and £38 for just 100 grams of the dried product, it’s easy to see why there is such a buzz around these.

“Following discussions with a couple of the larger retailers, I’m currently looking for farmers interested in diversifying, with an interest in harnessing the techniques that have been developed, and running commercial trials. In years to come, it could be common place to find “Chicken of the Woods” next to varieties such as shiitake and oyster mushrooms, which 10-15 years ago were very much a new taste experience in the supermarkets. We’re also in consultations with the patent office, to protect the process covering the special growing medium, temperature and humidity processes that would be needed to make commercial development viable.”

Commercial value aside, wild mushrooms are hunted by thousands of people every year simply for their taste and the joy of the hunt. Morels remain among the most prized of wild mushrooms, highly sought by gourmet chefs, particularly for French cuisine.

The home gardeners gourmet mushroom production kits go on sale in March (Price TBC), exclusively online from or by calling 08000 33 61 61. Any one interested in the commercial aspects be they farmer, or retailer should also make contact on the free phone number.

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