Freakish mushroom sprouts at Watervale

Chris Nuss of Little Bunyip with the whopping 845 gram King Oyster mushroom that sprouted recently at the Watervale company.
Chris Nuss of Little Bunyip with the whopping 845 gram King Oyster mushroom that sprouted recently at the Watervale company.

One small mistake has resulted in a huge mushroom for Watervale’s Little Bunyip Farm.

Farmers Chris Nuss and Ella McHenry’s King Oyster mushroom weighed in at a whopping 845 grams after fruiting last week.

Mrs McHenry said the freakish mushroom came to be because of a mix up during the spawning process.

“Something has gone on in the lab where a petri dish has been switched at some point, so we thought we were growing lots of Phoenix Oyster mushrooms but it turns out they are King Oysters,” she said.

“You usually do not grow King Oysters in vertical straw bags, so when we realised that is what was going on, we were not sure how they were going to turn out.” 

Usually during this process, King Oyster mushrooms grow out from the top of an open bag rather than sideways like they have at Little Bunyip.

Mr Nuss took the mushroom down to Fino at Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley last Thursday during one of his regular deliveries.

However, the Little Bunyip duo were unsure whether the mushroom was edible given its freakish size. 

Given the uncertainty around how the mushroom came to be, Mr Nuss and Mrs McHenry said it was unlikely that growing giant mushrooms would become regular at Little Bunyip.

“If there was a market for kilo Kings, we would have to just work out what is the best way to grow them,” Mrs McHenry said.

“They definitely have novelty value.”

As well as growing mushrooms, Little Bunyip have also added micro-greens to their product list.

Mr Nuss and Mrs McHenry, as well as their daugter Sylvia, have been residents of the Valley for a little over a year.

The pair met in Alice Springs in 2008 and completed two seasons on date farm before deciding to relocate down south to Watervale.

Little Bunyip grows their oyster mushrooms in grow rooms made from repurposed cool-room panels.

They are in the process of expanding production into a second grow room at the moment.