Value added ideas for Wairarapa
Finance minister Grant Robertson has argued the Wairarapa could develop value added agricultural businesses. Mushrooms growing for more than 50 years at Parkvale in Carterton illustrate what could be achieved.
Clive Thompson has been operating his own mushroom business in a small piece of land. Locals visit his farm to buy retail packs of flats and button mushrooms. Locals are also able to purchase self-grow kits and visit the web site, www.parkvale.co.nz, to obtain some recipes. Pickled mushrooms are popular in Japan and Wairarapa consumers may wish to try a Japanese recipe with 225 grams of Parkvale button mushrooms. Blanch briefly in lightly salted water and place in a wide-mouthed lidded jar. Make a brine from 1 cup of rice vinegar, 1 cup of water, pinch of salt, pinch of white pepper, pinch of black pepper, pinch of mace and cover the mushrooms. Place the lid on and leave in a dark cool place for 2 weeks. They will keep for 3 weeks in a refrigerator in an airtight container.
Grow your own
Interested people may purchase Parkvale mushroom kits which are compost containing mycelium and peat. Grower instructions which are included in the kit say put the peat mix on the compost, cover with plastic without sealing, and leave for one to two weeks until the mycelium has grown through the peat. Then remove the plastic and keep in a slightly drying and dark place, watering lightly. There are 7 to 10 days between flushes. Water well once you are picking. Pick by twisting to avoid damaging the surface. Keep the surface moist down to the bottom of the peat. The bucket should produce for a couple of months or more.
Wikipedia says Mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus or fungus-like bacterial colony, consisting of a mass of branching, thread-like hyphae. The mass of hyphae is sometimes called shiro, especially within the fairy ring fungi. Fungal colonies composed of mycelium are found in and on soil and many other substrates.
Other products for the Japanese market
When Grant Robertson spoke to Talking Business about options in value added agriculture he did not give particular examples. Mushrooms are not the only example, Japanese demand for daikon radishes are another. Daikon are a popular pickle in Japan, and Moore Wilson of Masterton stock locally grown daikon already. There are other examples of well-seasoned vegetables that could be sold to local and Japanese consumers.
When I was based in Japan I identified these uses of local products from the book The Well-Flavored Vegetable as some possible options. Lotus root, Chinese cabbage in brine, garlic pickled in miso, rakkyo onions, takuan (fermented daikon) pickle, umoboshi, cucumber kimchee, apple – plums in honey, garlic in molasses, kimchee peppers, cherries in white liquor and other products such as piquant chicken livers which include sake, onion and garlic.
Daikon a Japanese radish is a mild-flavoured winter radish (Raphanus sativus variety (cultivar) ‘Longipinnatus’) usually characterized by fast-growing leaves and a long, white root. Organic Daikon Radish is available from Auckland based Kings Seeds www.kingsseeds.co.nz.
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