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Head to Deans Marsh for its first mushroom foraging festival in May

Words by Anthea Riskas
Images by Jay Dillon & supplied

The Otway’s best-kept secret and local gem – The Store – is hosting the very first Deans Marsh Foraging Festival, celebrating all things fungi over a packed weekend of activities in May.

Nestled in the hinterland, 20 minutes inland from Lorne, The Store is a one-stop-general-shop in the true sense, bringing a café, bar, bottle shop, homewares, and a communal space to gather, shop, eat and connect.

Foraging Festival Dean's Marsh

Old-fashioned service, paddock-to-plate dining and a proper, city-level decent coffee, are reasons to visit all on their own, but if you need an “excuse” and you’re curious about all things mushrooms, the inaugural Foraging Festival is your chance to head into the forest May 20th-21st.

James McLennan will be hosting 3-hour, introductory, foraging tours Saturday and Sunday morning, where you’ll head out into the local surrounds and literally get your hands dirty picking some of the popular, local pine species.

Learn how to safely identify mushrooms, harvest with the environment in mind and cook and store them for maximum enjoyment. You’ll then head back to The Store for a snack prepared by James and a glass of something delicious to toast to your newfound skills to.

Foraging Festival Dean's Marsh

Saturday afternoon you can join naturopath Carly Merlo out at Gentle Annie Berry Farm, to explore the benefits of mushrooms when it comes to the merging of diet and a holistic approach to health. Afternoon tea is included.

Saturday evening, The Store’s head chef Sion Harwood will be taking you on a culinary, 5-course, degustation journey, showcasing the best of the region’s produce and celebrating the hero ingredient, at its best during the height of the foraging season.

A local drop will be expertly paired with each course and the discourse is sure to get your thinking as special guest, Dr Tim O’Hare, will be joining diners to discuss his research and deep interest in using psylocibins to treat mental illness. A truly unique dinner experience awaits!

If DIY is more your style, Sunday afternoon is for you, as Tamara Griffiths teaches you how to propagate, produce and use the King Stropharia in a range of garden settings. You’ll learn, lunch and take home your own growing kit to get your mushroom crop started.

Bookings are essential, prior experience unnecessary and don’t forget to check what to pack for your adventure!

Foraging Festival
Deans Marsh
When: 20-21 May
More Info: The Store
Bookings: HERE

We wish to acknowledge the Wadawurrung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.
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