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The Launch of the 2011 Soweto Mushroom Festival

October 2011

 

The Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication in Kliptown, the historic heart of Soweto, was the stage for the media launch of the 6th annual Soweto Mushroom Festival.  Soweto taxis were the mode of transport and waiting on the square were previous winners of the Soweto Mushroom Festival Best Dish and the Rising Stars competitions Ponki Missouri from Harambee B&B; Mary Khoza of Keithlometse B&B; Lizz Chanza from Chanza’s B&B; Peggy Maseko from Letsogapele B&B; and Jane Mookho Lebelo from Mookho’s B&B; as well as Japhta Hatshejame from The Soweto Hotel, ready to inspire guests with their Mushrooms a la Soweto.


The media were treated to dishes that illustrated the ease with which mushrooms can be included in almost any recipe – even a local delicacy, Mopani worms, made it to the buffet table! (Not to everyone’s taste but it certainly made a statement!)

And the overall impression from the guests?   Commented Susan Reynard of Hotel and Restaurant magazine, “The chefs really demonstrated the versatility of mushrooms as they effortlessly incorporated them into local and traditional dishes.  It is no wonder that mushrooms are growing in popularity in Soweto”.

The Soweto Mushroom Festival takes place in Soweto from October 28 – 30 so keep your eye on the next Spawnrun for a report back on the actual event!

Sowetans' Mushroom Farm Walkabout

It was with much excitement that our group of Soweto Mushroom Lovers arrived at the mushroom farm in Knoppieslaagte just outside Sandton, Johannesburg.  They were in for an eye-opening experience because, although familiar with mushrooms through participating in the Soweto Mushroom Festival, they did not really know how mushrooms are grown and were keen to learn!

 

Their main interest was the growing process of fresh cultivated mushrooms and coming to grips with the difference between fresh cultivated mushrooms which are non-poisonous and the mushrooms that grow wild in the veld and which often can be poisonous.  

 

We kick started the tour at the compost yard to introduce the team to the first important growing step – making perfect compost! From there they went into the growing rooms where they saw the different growing stages and where the technical aspects of growing cultivated mushrooms were explained in detail.  It was here that the tour guide further emphasised why wild-growing mushrooms should not be eaten and why cultivated mushrooms are 100% safe to eat at all times.

 

“The farm tour was an eye-opener for me because I did not know how mushrooms are grown and not once did I even think that the process would be so lengthy and unique. I now know that a mushroom is not just a vegetable for which you can dig a hole in you backyard and plant,” said Jane Lebelo of Mookho’s B&B in Soweto.

 

The day went by so fast with never a dull moment but filled with interest, questions and laughter from our Soweto visitors. And they all left with an important lesson learnt…  Remember to pick your mushrooms from the supermarket!!

 

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