2023 marks an exciting and pivotal year in Jude and Brent’s journey to create a sustainable, ethical & healthy business and lifestyle. Early this year we decided to extend the mushroom-growing activity by focusing on food production. Our aim is to use fermentation and other natural processes to extend the health & nutritional benefits of the already massively healthy foods we grow.
We are also about flavours. Rich deep and complex flavours, through to hot and spicy. We are also about texture and mouthfeel and of course aroma. We aim to make food that has substance, food with full sensory experience, food that is healthy or for those seeking to eat less meat.
We are now well underway. We have built a commercial kitchen having jumped through all the MPI hoops for compliance. In many ways, this kitchen is more an extension of our lab (and our experience in mycology) than a kitchen. Instead of cooking and ultra-processing, we are using natural processes like microbes and good bugs to work their magic for us. We are now ready to unleash some new and exciting flavours onto the unsuspecting yet discerning foodies.
These are small-batch productions, so availability will be limited to what we can grow on our farm and produce from our kitchen. We know that we cannot produce enough volume to feed the planet, so have focused our production on people that appreciate high-quality food that is packed to the gunnel with health and flavour.
Pink Oyster Mushroom Kimchi: As far as we are aware this is a world first. Bringing two Korean staples: the Oyster mushroom with the traditional Kimchi fermentation process. The aim for our kimchi is for it to be a meat replacement, so we have used the Pink Oyster Mushroom for its firm fleshy texture. It also has a similar nutritional profile as meats. It is full of flavour and fairly spicy. (We did not want to punch the heat down for those who would not appreciate it anyway!)
A mushroom pickle: Using the Grey Ouster Mushroom, with Lemon juice and Thyme. This has a delicate and fresh flavour that complements the spicy Kimchi. The mushrooms have a slightly sweet flavour that balances out the lemon & vinegar, with the thyme giving it good depth and aroma. From a health standpoint, we are reformulating our recipe to use Calcium Chloride instead of Sodium Chloride (aka salt) to reduce the sodium content.
Black Garlic: We are huge fans of umami, and Black Garlic has it by the bucket load. It’s a natural extension to our mushroom flavours and it has many of its own health claims. We make this as whole bulbs (so it is relatively unprocessed) and love how each batch will be slightly different: with coffee, chocolate or citrus notes to the deep savoury yet sweet caramel wonder. It has to be tasted to be experienced! Each bite is like a wine tasting and like candy for grown-ups! You’ll be hooked.
Fermented Yacon + Yuzu & Nori. We are very excited about our latest product. Not only does it appear to be another first to market, but a no-brainer form a health perspective. It’s also a gourmet delight with a fresh & crisp texture and clean bite, with just a little fresh chilli for a kick. This aromatic ferment celebrates ingredients gathered and preserved at the peak of their season. Yuzu peel in early winter, Thai chiles in late summer, and the Yacon harvested mid-winter. The Yacon is from our small farm in Ohau, and the Yuzu and chillies other from small growers who are in our region.
Raw Honey Comb: We added bees to our property more to pollinate our plants, as honey bees are fairly scarce due to a lack of apiaries nearby. We quickly saw the opportunity to harvest the honey and our natural instinct to keep it as an under-processed food, maintaining its natural and health value. These honeycombs are inside little wooden boxes that we put inside the hive, and where the bees directly make the comb, fill it with honey and seal it with wax. 100% natural! Our honey is delicious, with a delicate multiflora flavour due to the many different trees that flower all year on our property.
Glass Gem Pop Corn: A radical departure from our other umami lead foods, and more something we are doing for fun. This is made from heirloom corn that is native to the people in the southwestern United States. To maintain its integrity it is the only variety of corn that we grow on the property. To use it as popcorn, it’s just a simple matter of rubbing the ear with oil or butter, putting it inside a paper bag and microwaving it. Before doing this you could take some of the dried kernels, pot it and try growing some yourself.
Foods we are experimenting with.
Koji fermented Oyster Mushroom Garum: Inspired by Rene Redzepi at the Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, we are developing a similar liquid full of earthy umami flavours. We use trimmings from the oyster mushrooms and inoculate it with koji, for a long ferment. This creates a rich garam, or fish-type sauce (without the animals). So it is vegan and gluten-free. Due to the several months this takes to make, it’s still too early to say exactly how it will evolve and we’ll be excited to let you know.