This isn’t a story about those sorts of mushrooms. However, it’s a bit zany, and somewhat ‘otherworldly’, so perhaps it is? You can be the judge.
Buried underneath the hillside, alongside Mt Gibraltar between Mittagong and Bowral in the New South Wales Southern Highlands, lies a disused railway tunnel. Don’t all good stories start like this?
Widely used from 1866-1919, the track and tunnel serviced the region between Sydney and Canberra, until superseded by a new double track built alongside it in late 1919. The tunnel lay dormant - excepting a quick stint in mid-1942, where it was used by the Royal Australian Air Force to house explosives - until 1950, when it became one of the first cultivated mushroom farms in Australia.
The perfect environment for mushroom growing, the tunnel is cool, dimly lit and moist. The conditions mimicking that of the mountainous mushroom growing regions of China, Japan and Korea.
From 1987 onwards, new and exotic mushroom varieties have been cultivated in this railway tunnel and presented proudly to the Australian market.
Swiss Brown mushrooms, followed by exotic Asian varieties - Shiitake, Oyster, Shimejii and Wood Ear mushrooms – flooded the fresh food markets, making mushroom lovers’ dreams come true.
The tunnel is now a top producer of mushrooms in Australia as commandeered by the expert team at Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms. For twenty years, Li-Sun have been growing perfect mushies which make chefs of all distinction swoon, including ours.
You can take a tour of the tunnel and see the magic for yourself, or failing that, pop into Braddon Merchant at Midnight Hotel, and eat to your heart’s content from our menu feat. Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms.
Both experiences are a trip you won’t forget (sorry, not sorry!)
Posted December 4, 2019
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