We use specialist growbags for our Kitchen Gardens and we’ve been hand making them for over 2 years now – so that’s a lot of growbags (and kits). We noticed that one in every few hundred of the growbags we use has a sticker on the bottom saying ‘Made tender with Loving care’ – at first I thought Robbie was getting creative as he likes to hand write on our dispatch notes too, but after a while we realised that’s how they come from our supplier.
I’ve been wanting to write a blog post about this for a while, but was worried it’s a bit cheesy – that said, it’s are really nice sentiment, as we do hand make every kit and a lot of energy – both emotional and physical goes into creating each and every one: When a customer sends us a photo of their mushrooms growing we feel really proud, and happy they’ve shared the positive experience of growing their own mushrooms. When you look at a mushroom foraging book, you’ll see a really genuine warm smile on peoples’ faces (like this or this) when they’ve discovered a great mushroom of their own – that feeling is amplified substantially for us when we actually make the kits (as we do), then see people grow, harvest, cook and eat them.
Therefore the sticker ‘Made tender with Loving care’ that appears on some grow-bags really captures things nicely.
We hand make every single Kitchen Garden at our farm in Sussex; right from collecting the coffee grounds to packing each order and taking it to the post office, here’s a behind the scenes snapshot into what goes on…
Getting the Grounds
Every single Kitchen Garden starts from a cup of coffee around 100 espressos. Like us, the mushrooms love coffee and grow beautifully in it. Robbie and Jon collect it from Small Batch cafes around Brighton. Keep your eyes out around closing time and you’ll see Robbie or Jon sneaking in, drinking a quick espresso then struggling out with 20kgs of coffee grounds.
Hand-Making the Kits
The grounds are then brought back to the farm to be made into Kitchen Gardens. Lots of care and energy goes into make each bag. It’s a complex process shrouded in secrecy, we’ve written a bit more about this here – Robbie once calculated that each 1kg growbag is lifted about 15 times from collection to dispatch. That’s a lot of heavy lifting.
Grow your Own
All the care and attention doesn’t end when the Kitchen Garden flies our nest – we pass that baton on to you!! We hope you find it rewarding to see your mushrooms emerge from their bags and the excitement that comes when wake up in the morning and see the mushrooms have started to pin – like the excitement of waking up and seeing it’s snowed outside (kind of!)! We are lucky enough to see this all the time as we test each batch before sending them out – a few before and after photos are below…
Eat and Enjoy
Then comes the cooking! After all that nurturing, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labour; choosing a recipe that makes the most of the start ingredient! No supermarket mushroom will every taste as good once you’ve tried your own freshly picked crop and to top that off you’ll get a real sense of accomplishment that you have actually grown the main ingredient from scratch.
Your Oyster Mushrooms go on quite a journey before they reach your table! So much energy goes into making each and every kit, so we are always extremely proud to see how you are getting on. In August we even took the time to make a beautiful Mushroom Montage, to show off all your mushrooms in their full glory.