As the wild mushroom industry sits on a knife edge between bumper crop and abysmal pickings, Helen Mark visits the Muir of Dinnet in Aberdeenshire to meet some local fungi fanatics. Open Country sent them on a mushroom hunt to see what fungal fancies they could find.
The Muir of Dinnet is situated on the north side of the River Dee and surrounded by two lochs, Davan and Kinord. To get a full picture of the surrounding countryside Helen met up with Ewen Cemeron, from Scottish Natural Heritage.
Helen found Dick Peebles down near Loch Kinord rummaging for mushrooms. Dick owns Caledonian Wild Foods, a Glasgow based company that specialises in supplying the catering industry with a vast variety of wild foods, especially mushrooms. Dick is mad about mushrooms, whether picking, protecting, researching or simply speaking about them; his enthusiasm is infectious.
Unfortunately mushrooms were some what thin on the ground in the Muir of Dinnet so Helen headed north to Culbin Forest in Morayshire where she met up with keen mycologist Liz Holden. Liz has recently written a list of English names for the 3000 species of fungi found in Britain. Previously the mushrooms had only their Latin names which are almost impossible for the novice to remember. Thanks to Liz’s work names such as Lemon Disco and Rooting Poisonpie are now common place in the mushroom world!
Back at the Muir of Dinett near Loch Kinord, still faced with a lack of chanterelles and ceps, Helen met Ann Miller who has found a unique way cultivating mushrooms. As Anne explains growing Shittake mushrooms on logs and Oyster Mushrooms on toilet rolls is much easier than many people would think!
With the group back together again and comparing bounties, Jimmy and Amanda Graham were kind enough to cook them for us! James is a top Scottish chef and the husband and wife team own the acclaimed restaurant Ostlers Close in Cupar, Fife. Being big mushroom enthusiasts, they refuse to buy mushrooms and the menu always revolves around what mushrooms have been gathered that day.
The Muir of Dennet
Mushrooms' fresh flavour of cinnamon, jellybabies and lemons
Ann Miller's Speciality Mushrooms
Ostler's Close Restaurant
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