|Cross section of the original siamese mushroom|
Such a shocking discovery clearly, I felt, had the capability to shake the field of mycology (aka field of mushrooms) to its very core! Where had these freaky mushrooms been hidden all my life? Why had they only began to surface now..and in such numbers in my shopping trolley?
I had visions of being carried shoulder high into the Society of Mycology's annual conference (it's a great conference because they are all such fun guys!) to give a keynote speech on the new siamese mushroom phenomenon.
Unfortunately, it wasn't to be.
As Dr. John Collier, Group Research and Development Manager with Monaghan Mushrooms, pointed out "this is very common".
"It is nothing unnatural", Dr. Collier continued "Mushrooms do not have an outer skin but are a mass of hyphae knotted around each other. If you have two immature mushrooms very close beside each other they can then grow into each other as they develop".
However, Dr. Collier notes that these mushrooms do not usually enter the market: "Through proper harvesting management, this can be minimised by removing the smaller one early on".
Monaghan Mushrooms employs over 2,200 people in Ireland and overseas and recently created 150 new jobs in Co. Monaghan with the opening of a state-of-the-art mushroom growing facility at Tyholland. The new facility can produce up to 115 tonnes of mushrooms every week, most of which will be exported to the UK where they command a 45% share of the mushroom market.