Fungi a great learning tool

Mushrooms a good learning tool


Farming Small Areas News
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While most seven-year-olds might be riding their bikes, kicking the footy around or playing games, Charlie Shannon is learning to run his own business with a bit of help from his family and some mushrooms.

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FAMILY FUN: Rodger, Willamina and Charlie Shannon spend time with some of their 2000 free range chickens. Photo: Rachael Webb.

FAMILY FUN: Rodger, Willamina and Charlie Shannon spend time with some of their 2000 free range chickens. Photo: Rachael Webb.

While most seven-year-olds might be riding their bikes, kicking the footy around or playing games, Charlie Shannon is learning to run his own business with a bit of help from his family and some mushrooms.

Charlie and his father Rodger, mother Katherine and sister Willamina (5) live on 549 hectares just out of Manildra in NSW's Central West where they run Carbeen Pastured Produce.

Charlie runs his own business, Charlie's Shrooms, selling his pearl, oyster and elm variety mushrooms at the Orange Farmers Markets once a month and to a number of high-end restaurants every week.

They produce eight kilograms of mushrooms each week which is not full production, but just catering for demand.

Other than the mushrooms, the Shannon's run 170 Angus cows and followers, 250 First-cross ewes and 2000 free range chickens.

They have a Maremma sheep dog to protect the chickens.

Rodger said the idea to grow mushrooms came from wanting to make better use of the sawdust waste out of the brooders.

"We run a holistic style operation and needed to do something with the sawdust," he said.

"As it doesn't take up too much time, about 10 minutes each day, we thought it would be good for Charlie to do.

"It has taught him about money and savings and business.

"He has learned that mum and dad don't just open their wallet and money comes out.

"He has had to look at costs and profits. He has learned that a certain percentage of profits need to go back into the business, a certain percentage he gets to spend himself and a certain percentage goes to charities.

"Charlie has always been concerned with the state of the world and wants to contribute to saving it.

"At the moment, he is giving money to help the Great Barrier Reef and is looking for a charity helping the Daintree Rainforest next."

Charlie's tasks for producing the mushrooms include putting grow bags in the room and monitoring the temperature and humidity, picking the mushrooms when they are grown, removing the old bags when they are finished, and cleaning the room to make sure no bacteria gets in.

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