The beautiful city of Bath slumbers in the autumn sunshine, but underneath it, in the darkness, something is growing… mushrooms! In a fabulous new initiative, local group Transition Bath has taken on the task of making Bath ‘self-sufficient in mushrooms’, grown in the stone vaults below Green Park Station.
Bath’s oyster mushrooms are grown on used coffee grounds from local independents and chains, a brilliant piece of recycling that not only uses up a massive waste product (did you know that coffee-making uses only 2% of the bean? That means the other 98% is completely wasted!) but makes for excellent mushroom-growing conditions. The boiling water passing through the ground beans helps to semi-pasteurise them, knocking most of the bacteria on the head so that when the mushroom fungus is introduced, it has the chance to take over. And that’s not it, either – when the mushrooms have finished with the coffee grounds, they make excellent compost (having been thoroughly broken down), or animal feed, as they’re packed with fibrous protein from the parts of the fungus that grow underground.
The delicious oyster mushrooms, meanwhile, travel just a few feet to the Bath Farmers’ Market in Green Park Station itself – could you possibly get more local? – or are sold to the companies who provide the coffee grounds, combining pick-up and delivery in one. As well as tasting scrumptious, they’re also full of healthy protein and high in lovastatin, which reduces cholesterol.
If you’d like to support this great new enterprise, then do go along to the Farmers’ Market (every Saturday from 9am-1.30pm) and buy their mushrooms and their compost, or visit them at the vaults to see it all for yourself. They also hope to offer grow-your-own bags (using the paper bags in which the coffee beans are delivered – genius!) for home mushroom farming. Finally, they are looking for people to help them collect the coffee grounds, prepare them for growing, tend and pick the mushrooms, and plenty of other things – and they’ll even pay you, so do get in touch! Find out more on their website, www.fungifruits.co.uk.
Sal Godfrey is a blogger and food writer from Bath who loves scribbling, cooking and eating, and provides creative content services for foodie companies.
Visit her blog at www.salskitchen.blogspot.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @sal_godfrey.