The farm on the 10th line of Selwyn Township has been in Dr. Ann McIlmoyle’s family for generations and it continues to be a family affair. The farm is represented at the Millbrook Farmers’ market by Ann Mcilmoyle and her partner Allan White seen in the photo, but other family members operate booths at a variety of other markets including the Peterborough market at the Memorial Centre, in Oshawa and even in Toronto. The objective for all of the participants is to keep the farm in the family.
The two hundred acre property continues to produce a variety of crops, but the one consistent output has been mushrooms. These are organically grown in an indoor facility roughly the size of a hockey rink. Among the varieties are Shiitake, oyster, portabella, lion’s mane and cinnamon caps, to name a few.
Mushrooms are growing in popularity as awareness grows about their health benefits. Low in calorie, and high in fibre, these edible fungi are loaded with a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, making them a welcome addition to a healthy diet. Varieties such as Cremini and Portabello are known for their delicate flavour and their meaty texture makes them a natural meat substitute in modern diets.
Dr. McIlmoyle is better known in the area as an accomplished science teacher, having introduced the science fair competition to schools in the Peterborough area more than 50 years ago and has collected several academic awards during her educational career. She would prefer to discuss the success of some of her former students, some who have achieved national and international recognition. While her teaching days are behind her, she continues to conduct research into the health benefits of mushrooms and is delighted to talk mushrooms at the market, pulling a reference book on the subject out of her bag to illustrate her points.
She is not alone in trumpeting the health benefits associated with mushrooms, which include lower blood pressure, an improved immune system, as well as their high source of potassium, fibre, protein and anti-oxidants. Early studies of the lion’s mane variety indicate promise in areas such as brain health, combatting digestive issues including inflammatory bowel diseases and as a potential source of relief for stress, anxiety and depression.
At the Waymac Mushroom booth shoppers will find mushrooms of all shapes, colours and sizes to add some interest and nutrition to your dinner table. KG