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Mike was introduced to wild mushrooms by his wife, Maggie, who grew up picking them as a child in Poland. One day she pointed some out whilst on a walk in the woods and it was at that point that his passion for fungi was born. He picked a basket-full, sold them to the Italian restaurant at the bottom of his road and immediately started looking into ways to get his hands on more mushrooms. London isn’t the most plentiful place to pick mushrooms, so he began importing them from Europe, where unlike the UK, picking wild mushrooms is very much part of their culture. It wasn’t long before he ran out of space in his kitchen, where he was storing the mushrooms, so he invested in a van and an arch space in Battersea. And so Wild Harvest was born. It was the first company of its kind in the UK, specializing in wild mushrooms, truffles and foraged produce. Wild Harvest grew to the stage where Mike was able to relinquish the reins and take a break from the hectic lifestyle that goes hand in hand with the industry. After a much deserved break, Mike decided to get his teeth wet again and joined Mash Purveyors to start a Wild and Foraged department there. The chefs were over-joyed to have him back in the industry and the department quickly flourished. Mike still goes foraging on a weekly basis and the Autumnal mushroom season is undoubtedly his favourite period of the year to be out in the woods looking for fungi.
Storage-wise, treat them like any mushroom and keep them cool and moist. Pop them in a paper bag or in a tub covered with a breathable cloth and they’ll store well in the fridge for up to a week.
Take care to cook these mushrooms thoroughly, as some people can have a reaction to raw or undercooked wild mushrooms.