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Sowetans' mushroom farm walkabout

October 2011


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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