Someone (I forget who) said I should visit the Mushroom Farm, “it’s awesome” they exclaimed with a little more exuberance than an early Sunday morning warranted. As I continued my Sunday morning lie-in I tried to understand why anyone sober would think that visiting a mushroom farm, anywhere on the damn planet was awesome. Turns out though, this Mushroom Farm had more to it than just fungi.
Plans are made to be kept (sort of) I so made my way to our brunch spot at the Mushroom Farm and was honestly blown away by the experience, it’s amazing! Apart from getting a little lost on my way there (thanks Google) I have nothing but positivity to sprout forth.
Let’s Get Started!
Right, let’s get started. The Mushroom Farm used to be exactly that, a mushroom farm, and it still is to a degree – that is, you can buy mushrooms there. Once parked (and there is ample parking) and looking around, I was reminded of the ‘farm stalls’ you see when heading into the midlands, interesting stalls with a restaurant or two and nervous farmyard animals eying over-excited kiddies while parents attempted administering law and order and failed with sometimes spectacular results.
I have no idea when the Mushroom Farm changed to this little road-side attraction (and does it even matter) but I know that it’s easy to spend an entire morning strolling about. There’s a lot on offer, from a goat pen to some ducks and geese wondering about (the ducks were pretty chilled but the geese looked about ready for war), to a honey shop, leather shop and garden plekkie. It seems then, there really was something for everyone – fancy that.
Eating at the Mushroom Farm
I joined the rest of the gang at the “Go Fresh Cafe” and was handed a menu by the sweetest of servers – she was really cheerful and usually I’m not into that on a Sunday morning, she won me over though.
The menu is kinda like what you’d expect, toasted sandwiches with the usual fillings, a curry, some other offerings I should probably have made a note of, but now I can’t remember. The item that stood out to me though, was the toasted “caramelized onions, bacon and Camembert” – damn, damn and damn again, deliciousness on toasted bread! And only at R50 bucks (at the time of writing of course) with chips (or a salad if you so inclined), its a complete winner for me.
The gang had a real assortment of eats, from toasted chicken mayo’s to a full breakfast which was declared to be one of the best breakfasts ever (isn’t that true of all English breakfasts?). I followed up my toasted sarmie with a chai (delicious) and decided to explore a little.
There is also the “Maddison Bakery and Cafe” which I think I’ll have to try next time, as we walked by the smells from the bakery were heavenly! We did grab a coffee which was perfect and I saw that there is a cordoned off play area with slides.
Children at the Mushroom Farm
There are a good many things to help your cute little rugrats burn off all their extra energy (does that actually ever happen?) including a goat pen, a little ol’ duck pond and a play area so you can definitely bring the sprogs. Best part, you can chill with a coffee at one of the many benches and keep an eye out on them.
I will say though, that the play area was looking a little defeated when we visited but nothing a little love and attention couldn’t solve. And the goat pen, well I don’t know much about goats but it seemed a teensy small for the two big goats that called the pen home – I couldn’t find anyone to ask if the goats were in the pen 24/7, I hope not.
Shopping at the Mushroom Farm
There’s more shops about than you could possible shake a stick at. I try and pretend I’m not into shopping but if I spot an antique store I’m done for, just leave me in there and I’ll be as happy as a clam. In fact, if it weren’t for my companions (aka the gang), this blog post about the Mushroom Farm would be pretty short – fortunately they all wanted to explore.
I loves me some honey. Not only delicious on toast and an assortment of other tea-time snacks, but can be baked into breads and stuff. And did you know, honey can be used medicinally? And it’s not only honey you can find in the Peels Honey shop, but jams and preservatives and even eco-friendly toothbrushes (bet you didn’t know that). I come away with a shopping bag full (no plastic please).
The Mushroom Shop
Right next door Peels Honey is the Mushroom Shop. I love mushrooms so I was more than happy to stock up on all the different varieties on offer. There’s also a little nursery attached as well, so from buying mushrooms you can then stock up on some lovely plants for the house.
Check out the Mushroom Farm website for more.
I used to be vegetarian (I’m flexitarian now, and yes, it’s a thing) but even I know the value of good, hand made leather products. I have a proper leather belt that has outlasted the cheapy stuff you find at big brand store like 3 times over. Groundcover offers a great range of shoes (I especially like the vellies), sandals, bags, belts and the like. If you gonna buy leather, then buy the good stuff, buy it here.
Here’s a link to their Facebook page.
Loafers Low Carb Deli
Now this is a shop I could of spent a great deal more time in. The stop is stocked to the brim with delicious ready-made-meals, cakes, sweets, there’s a bakery as well, the list kinda just goes on and on. And what makes the store so fantastic, it’s all healthy products; no preservatives, no colourants, no flavourants, just wholesome goodness. I was particularly drawn to the ready made meals.
The have a website and here’s the link.
Love, love and love again for this shop – a treasure of delights. I have quite a big passion for furniture, both modern and antique and this great find dished up plenty of the antique variety. But it’s not all furniture, there’s an entire wall full of “LP’s”, I’m pretty sure that there are some real treasures among the old albums just waiting to be found! There’s costume jewelry, so beautiful vintage dresses the girls swooned over, posters…plenty to keep you occupied.
Couldn’t find a website for them, but call them on +27 (0) 72 394 2346.
The Hitching Post
A shop full of horse and animal feeds is the best way to describe “The Hitching Post”. The shop certainly seemed popular with quite a few patrons carrying out loads of animal feed to their cars.
No website but call them on +27 (0) 31 768 1686.
Right next door to the Hitching Post is Unicorn Tack – pretty handy since they deal in all things equestrian and since horses eat hey, you can probably pop next door for the hay itself. This shop is absolutely full of saddles, bridles, boots, crops, riding gear, there’s just way to much to even begin listing here; it’s best you visit their website for more.
Shambala is one of those fascinating stores you kinda feel yourself being drawn to without realising it. Stepping over the threshold you’re immediately calmed by the incense and gentle music and before you know it you’re coveting precious items all about the shop! A blend of gentle philosophies, Buddhism, American Indian shamanism, this store is definitely one I plan to return to.
Have a look at their website here.
Garden and Decor
The granddaddy of The Mushroom Farm has to be “Garden and Decor”. Loads of fantastic and brightly colored outdoor planters that’ll surely brighten up any garden. And if that’s not your thing, there are plenty more traditional planters and water features to choose from. I had a few favorites that I’m planning to return for, I especially loved the wall mounted ceramic art pieces.
I really loved the outdoor table and benches that Enviro Timber produce. Not only are they long lasting and look good, but they help rid the enviroment of plastic – what more could you possibly want! I was told they manufacture more than just tables and benches though and some 1200 plastic milk bottles goes into one 2-seater bench. I have nothing but good feelings for this company. Another cool fact about them, they manufacture locally.
Have a look at their website here.
Go Fresh Care and Juice Bar
You may recall me mentioning what might be the greatest bacon buttie (well, bacon, caramelized onion and Camembert is more accurate) right at the top of the post. The restaurant has a far greater menu than that and according to a diner next to us, they offer possibly the greatest curry’s ever made in the history of mankind! Anyways, plenty of tables, spaced well away from one another, constant cleaning and a hand wash station – these are all things that make the “Go Fresh Cafe and Juice Bar” your place to be. Oh, and you can watch your little ones play nearby.
Check out their website here for more info.
Maddison Bakery and Coffee
This is a grand little spot situated near the “top” of the Mushroom Farm. It’s great little bakery that has a fantastic little deck overlooking a play area. So, direct your kids to tot he cordoned off play area, grab a cup of coffee and a pastry and chill out. I can imagine this spot being really popular for Moms and Dads looking for a break from the kids.
No website but you can call them on 083 277 2802 for more info.
Legacy Bonsai Nursery
If I had any ability whatsoever for keeping plants alive, this shop would have worked my credit card out big time. These bonsai plants are damn amazing – any many of them are trees and plans I recognise as local species. And another thing that makes this shop so appealing, they even hold lessons on how to look after your newly acquired bonsai.
Get their contact details from their website here.
The Container Framer
My friend “D” is a fantastic artist and one day I’ll write a whole feature on here (when and if she lets me). I reckon this shop is perfect for “D”. They offer framing services for everything from paintings to framing sports memorabilia and so on. I don’t know much about framing but i thought their prices looked really good.
Have a look their Facebook page for more info.
The Veggie Shop
The Veggie Shop pretty much lives up to it’s name, loads of veggies on display. But, they are just fantastic looking vegetables – more so than your regular big brand store variety! I have to say as being vegetarian for a long while, these vege’s looked delicious, so much so I bought at least a week’s worth there and then.
I couldn’t find a website, so contact them via email (link here).
I first discovered Senqu when I took paying clients to the top of Sani Pass (I’m a tour guide by the way) and we usually stopped for breakfast in Underberg, and right next door was Senqu. On more than one occasion guests have run in to purchase warmer jackets, or a water bottle, or even gloves and a beanie. I’ve bought from them and the quality is great.
Check out their website here.
I remember Tall Trees from when they were first in Lillies Quarter in Hillcrest. It was grand to discover then here at the Mushroom Farm as I was afraid they had closed! They have some really lovely pieces of furniture, kinda reminds me of the imported “Indonesian antique” style that was so popular for a while.
Have a look at their website for more details.
Spence and Mae
Although not yet open (they open on the 1st August) Spence and Mae is another of those fascinating stores with a little something for everyone. From what I understand, the store will be displaying art and other goodies from local makers – this I think is a fantastic idea and we should all be buying local wherever we can.
Here’s the link to their Facebook page.
The Mushroom Farm Gallery
There’s so many things to photograph at the Mushroom Farm and only so much data available, so here are some of my favorite images from the morning spent at the Mushroom Farm.
Directions to the Mushroom Farm
It’s so easy to get to the Mushroom Farm (in spite of my getting lost the first time). You can follow my directions below from either Durban or Pietermaritzburg.
Take the N3 west to Pietermartizburg and head through the toll gate at Marianhill Plaza. The next turn off is the Shongweni off ramp, take it and at the stop sign turn right onto Kassier Road. Stay on the road for roughly 1,5km and then take a left into the Mushroom Farm.
Take the N3 east to Durban and you get past Hammarsdale turnoff, keep an eye out for the M13 split to the left (Exit 35) and take it when it comes up. About 1km (give or take) down the road you’ll see the Assagay Road turnoff, take it. At the traffic lights make a left and about 200m down the road you’ll see the Mushroom Farm on the left.
What Else is in the Area
The Mushroom Farm is not all there is to do in the area. Check out these other sites below and make a Durban day trip out of your visit.
- PheZulu Safari Park
- 1000 Hills Village
- Shongweni Farmers Market (Saturdays only)
- Hillcrest Aid Center