Richard Sawden

New Forest Mushrooms

I started the business of growing mushrooms after working as a chef in the Far East     (Shangri La, Kuala Lumpur) and I saw many different types and ways of cooking various varieties, a mushroom farm came up for rent and I took the plunge after I came back to England.  We now grow 14 different varieties throughout the year.

Did you always want to be a farmer?

I have always had a passion for farming and watching crops grow (not literally watching and waiting) and I love to open the doors to the grow room and see all the colours inside. 

What's your favourite Mushroom?

I enjoy Ceps the best, especially just pan fried in butter and fresh parsley on toast

What’s the biggest factor currently affecting the way you farm?

The biggest factor is price of white and chestnut mushrooms, as I grew quite large quantities when I first started but changed over to some of the very difficult mushrooms to grow after finding it hard to make money competing against the imports. 

What’s your party trick?

I like to tease the guests on days out about poisonous mushrooms. 

Tell us a joke.

Why did the radio station ask the mushroom farmer for an interview?

 

… because he’s a fungi (fun guy) 

What three items would you take to a Dessert Island?

Mushrooms of course, a frying pan and ginger beer.

What are you most worried about for farming in the future?

I worry about my experience and knowledge being available online one day to make it easier for others to grow without going through the “learning process“.

What's number one on your Bucket List?

To do a round the world cruise with my family.