400 words 2 min read
Forrest Foods is owned and run by Paul and Wendy Troughton with the help of their three children Claire, Max and Kaye. The couple run a sustainable dairy operation on their 172-hectare farm in Gerangamete along with a hugely successful fresh shiitake mushroom farm on their out paddocks in Barongarook.
The Troughtons are passionate about sustainable farming and regenerative agriculture and horti- culture. They are members of both the Gerangamete Landcare Group and the Otway Agroforestry Network and active in the local community.
One of the keys to sustainability on the Troughton’s farm is an on-farm composting program whereby they compost the waste from both the dairy and the mushroom farm, turning it into natural fertiliser to spread back on the farm.
Compost delivers key nutrients and carbon back into the soil, increasing the biodiversity and bio- logical activity, which improves pasture, crops and increases moisture retention. This reduces the amount of overall inputs required to run the farm including fewer chemical fertilisers and reduced spraying for pests and weeds.
Under the brand Forrest Foods, Paul and Wendy embarked on growing premium grade fresh shi- itake mushrooms on their Barongarook out paddocks in 2012. The Otway region of Victoria is ideal for growing shiitakes with an abundance of clean, fresh water and a temperate climate.
Forrest Foods is one of the only Australian growers of fresh shiitake with the productivity to consis- tently supply gourmet provedores, grocers and high-end restaurants with quality shiitakes all year round.
Because of this, they are highly sought after and in 2015, Forrest Foods was featured on the finale of Masterchef as an Australian producer of note with Paul making a guest appearance during the show.
The shiitake mushrooms are grown on a sawdust substrate which is formed into a small log. This substrate is inoculated with a shiitake spawn, which grows by feeding on the wood.
Fresh shiitakes are sought after for their health properties including their ability to boost the im- mune system, reduce inflammation and a rich source of vitamin D and iron.
They are are a terrific source of protein for vegetarian and vegan diets, they are paleo friendly and suitable for nut, gluten and dairy-free dishes.
In 2016, Paul and Wendy are on track to expand Forrest Foods, including supplying restaurants with rose veal, and producing some value-added mushroom products for retail sale.
Fore more information, visit http://www.forrestfoods.com.au