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Deans Marsh Foraging Festival

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Event description

A celebration of mushrooms in Deans Marsh, the premier foraging precinct just 90 minutes from Melbourne. The weekend will incorporate:

  • Foraging tours into the Otway Hinterland
  • Education on how to cultivate mushrooms
  • Talks from wellbeing experts on the health benefits of mushrooms 
  • Activities for kids

The weekend will culminate with a Mushroom Harvest Dinner on Saturday evening, curated by Chef Sion Harwood - head chef at The Store Deans Marsh.

There are many local accommodation providers in and surrounding Deans Marsh. Come for the weekend and immerse yourself in the foraging and funghi culture.

Event Schedule

Saturday 20th May

9:00am   Mushroom Foraging Tour with James McLennan

2:30pm   Health and Wellbeing Benefits Seminar with Carly Merlo

6:00pm   Curry Night @ The Store.

Sunday 21st May

9:00am   Mushroom Foraging Tour with James McLennan

2:00pm   Mushroom Growing Seminar with Tamara Griffiths

Program Details

Mushroom Foraging Tour with James McLennan

Meeting at The Store Deans Marsh on the mornings of Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st May, join us for this 3-hour introductory session into the world of foraging mushrooms.

Mushroom foraging is becoming more and more popular with many benefits coming from this past time. Whether it be getting into nature and connecting to country, exercise, learning a new skill, researching, being consciously aware, or simply finding your own food, mushroom foraging has something for everyone.

This hands-on and interactive workshop is designed as an introduction to foraging wild mushrooms and how you can find and safely identify them in their natural habitat. We will be focusing on some favourite pine species from in and around the Deans Marsh region. Key takeaways will include:

  • Symbiotic relationships of fungi
  • Basic mushroom anatomy
  • Mushroom ID
  • How to forage and harvest to minimise your environmental impact
  • How to store, prepare and cook your mushrooms

At the end James, your host will prepare delicious mushroom snack for everyone to sample, before returning to the Deans Marsh Store for a glass of wine or beer and time to ask any remaining questions.

This workshop will be field based. You will be walking in nature within a forest, on uneven ground and in the natural elements!

Prior knowledge


What to bring

  • Warm clothes – beanie, jackets etc
  • Raincoat
  • Over-pants (optional)
  • Closed shoes, suitable for walking off track
  • Drink bottle
  • An unused paint brush – 50-80mm (optional)
  • Basket (optional)
  • Sharp knife


  • Guidance with a local expert
  • ID cards
  • Recipe card
  • Complimentary beverage at the end.
  • We will also be providing baskets & knives for those who don’t have one.

Mushroom Growing Seminar with Tamara Griffiths

Tamara's workshop will be conducted on the grounds at The Store Deans Marsh and includes:

  • How to propagate King Stropharia mycelium
  • How to get King Stropharia to produce mushrooms
  • King Stropharia mycelium to take home
  • Growing King Stropharia in a forest garden
  • Using King Stropharia mushrooms in permaculture design
  • Building soil with King Stropharia mushrooms


  • King Stropharia Growing Kit
  • Lunch provided by The Store Deans Marsh

Health and Wellbeing Benefits of Mushrooms Seminar with Carly Merlo

Join Carly Merlo at Gentle Annie Berry Farm for a discussion of the health benefits of mushrooms over afternoon tea.

Carly is a passionate Naturopath who believes we always need to take a holistic and individualised approach to our health. She loves investigating the core reasons behind health conditions and working with her clients to bring them back to a state of balance and full health. She uses mushrooms regularly as part of her holistic approach to naturopathic treatment.

Carly holds a Bachelor of Health Science with a major in Naturopathy from The Southern School of Natural Medicine and is constantly updating her knowledge via professional development seminars. She has also spent many years learning yoga and yoga therapy techniques in India.


  • Afternoon tea prepared by Carly and the team at Gentle Annie Berry Farm celebrating mushrooms

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