September 3, 2015

Rockwood Mushroom Fest 2015
A cornucopia of mushroom flavour, lore and decor!
Festival sponsored by Mushrooms Canada

For immediate release

Rockwood…Calling all mushrooms lovers to the Second Annual Rockwood Mushroom Fest on September 19, 2015 from 10 am to 5 pm at St. John’s Church and Green in the heart of Rockwood.  In its first year, the festival attracted 1000 people, both curious and passionate about mushrooms. 

Like a mushroom, last year’s first festival sprouted magically, almost overnight; and like rumours of morels ready to harvest, it attracted mushroom lovers from every direction.  The crowds gathered in fascination to learn more about mushrooms in food, in art, in health, in medicine, in cultivation and in nature. 

 Rockwood Mushroom Fest is proud to announce that Mushrooms Canada is the 2015 Festival Sponsor.  Joining the festival in celebrating the mushroom, this national organization is dedicated to the production and marketing of fresh mushrooms, a natural partner for the festival.  Ryan Koeslag, Executive VP of the Canadian Mushroom Growers Association says:  "Mushrooms Canada is proud to support Rockwood Mushroom Fest as it celebrates the mushroom industry; from growing mushrooms, all the way to delicious and healthy recipes for the whole family.  We invite everyone to attend the festival, visit our booth, learn about the industry and enjoy some safe, healthy, nutritious and locally grown mushrooms!"

From the fanfare opening with the Mesmer Alphorn duo high on a hill overlooking the site, Rockwood Mushroom Fest is fun for all ages.  A children’s area under the ‘Mushroom Big Top’, has games and activities ranging from clay modelling to a life-size ‘snakes and ladders’ game.  All day long musicians play on the Mushroom Music Stage where everyone gathers round munching on the best in mushroom fare from battered mushrooms to mushroom-infused pasta.  And, families will enjoy seeing the Mighty Mushroom Exhibit.  They will be amazed at all the shapes, colours and sizes that mushrooms take.

No one will want to miss the mushroom recipe sampling.  12 excellent chefs will be present to serve an exciting variety of dishes – of whom four will also demonstrate their techniques: Roger Dufau (Drew House, Elora) with stuffed mushrooms; Paul Mattina (Mattina’s Cucina, Georgetown) with his mushroom soup accompanied by mushroom/gorgonzola crostini; Jess Mantell (Abokichi, Toronto) with mushroom onigiri; and Yasser Qahawish (Artisanale, Guelph) with seasonal wild chanterelles served to highlight their flavour.  Chinese mushroom dumplings, lamb/mushroom/beer ragout, pakoras and more!  Something for everyone!

Everyone can learn more about mushrooms – Guelph’s Outdoor School’s Jeremy Allen will make a presentation about fire-lighting with mushrooms; Blackshire Farm’s Ahren Hughes will share the secrets of growing shiitake mushrooms on logs; Dr. Jennifer Hillier, naturopath will amaze with her medicinal mushroom applications; and GRCA interpreter Greg Meredith will provide insight into the decomposing role mushrooms play in nature.

Other aspects of the festival include guided wild mushroom hikes in Rockwood Conservation Area; Where the Mushrooms Are Art Show; Wine Sampling, Niagara and international vintages, by Lifford Wines and Spirits; Royal City Brewing Beer Sampling; and 20 kiosks featuring arts, crafts, food and community information. 

Full details are listed in the addendum to this release.

Rockwood Mushroom Fest Details
Date: Saturday, September 19, 2015
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Location: St. John’s Anglican Church, 112 Guelph St. and Hwy. 7, in the heart of Rockwood

Box Office:    Music in the Wood,
122 Main Street South, Rockwood
For box office hours, visit

Entry Tickets:            $5; Children 12 and under - Free
At the Festival:          Fest-tickets for food tasting: $2 each or 12 for $20

Where the Mushrooms Are Art Show:   Susan Johnson 519-856-2364/

Media contact: Linda Sword 519-853-1896

Photo Credit: Shari Lovell

Festival Details:

Opening Ceremony, 10:00:  Bob and Lynda Mesmer’s festival fanfare opens the festival, with their Swiss-made 12-foot alphorns on the not-quite-Alpine slope of the festival green.  Mayor Chris White then presents the key to Rockwood to open the festival.

Chef demos: Four excellent chefs share their secrets in mushroom preparation, preserving and recipes.
10:30…           Yasser Qahawish (Artisanale, Guelph)
12:00….Paul Mattina (Mattina’s Cucina, Georgetown)
1:30…..           Roger Dufau (Drew House, Elora)
3:00…..           Jess Mantell (Abokichi, Toronto)

Chef samples: All day. Twelve chefs (confirmed to date) offer samples of mushroom recipes.
Abokichi (Toronto) Onigiri
French Country Cooking (Guelph) seasonal wild chanterelles         
Chris Wilson (Eden Mills) lamb/mushroom/beer ragout
Double Happiness (Acton) mushroom/pork dumplings
Drew House (Elora) lamb/mushroom rolls
Heaven on Seven (Rockwood) Zurcher Geschnetzeltes (pork/mushrooms in wine/cream sauce)
Krisha Indian Cooking School (Guelph) onion/mushroom pakoras        
Mattina’s Cucina (Georgetown) mushroom soup with mushroom/gorgonzola crostini
Mushrooms Canada “Blend and Extend” Mushroom/beef blended taco bites
Pangaea Pasta (Belwood) mushroom infused fettucini
St. John’s Church, (Rockwood) savoury mushroom muffins, tea and coffee
S’Wheat Dreams Bake Shop (Acton) mushroom/vegetable pie

All About Mushrooms: Five presentations bring mushroom enlightenment. Interspersed with the live presentations will be screenings of cutting edge video talks highlighting emerging uses of mushrooms for a world in crisis.
11:30….Dr. Jennifer Hillier, naturopath Medicinal mushrooms: The ancient fountain of youth
12:15…Ahren Hughes (Blackshire Farm) Growing shiitake mushrooms on logs
1:00…..           Greg Meredith (GRCA) Decomposer & Mushroom Show
1:45…..           Dr. Jennifer Hillier, naturopath Medicinal mushrooms: Nature’s answer to the cancer pandemic

Jeremy Allen (Guelph Outdoor School) Fire-lighting with mushrooms

Wild mushroom hikes: Two ‘Fun Guys’ hike! Join Greg Meredith and Alex Parniak from the Guelph Lake Nature Centre as they lead an exploration hike to see what fungi are present in the Rockwood Conservation Area in the fall.  With a festival entry stamp, the hike prices are:
Adults: $5;                                          Seniors and persons with disabilities: $4.
Children 6 to 14 years old: $2.          Children under 6 years old are free.

Mushroom Exhibit: Mushrooms in their infinite variety – cultivated and wild.  See them grow before your eyes and talk to experts.

Mushroom Sales: Buy mushrooms for dinner.

Where the Mushrooms Are Art Show: Artists of all ages have captured mushrooms on canvas, in sculpture and in photography.  Vote in the People’s Choice Competition.

Food Vendors:

Rockwood’s Home Plate comes to home base!
Chef Leo Jacot of Rockwood’s Eramosa Café puts on his mushroom chef’s cap!
Mapleton’s Organic Ice Cream return with a multitude of ice cream flavours!

Wine Tasting: Karen Doyle of Lifford Wines and Spirits presents a variety of Niagara and international wines for tasting along with discussion about pairing wine with mushrooms.

Music on Mushroom Stage: Six musical acts entertain all day! 
10:30:  Mike Hogg (Waterford) harmonica/voice/guitar
11:30:  Churchville Park Trio (GTA North) acoustic old-time country, folk, bluegrass
12:30:  Gayle Ackroyd (Guelph) folk, country, blues
 1:30:   Ian Reid (Rockwood) folksinger/songwriter
 2:30:   Brown Ale (Mississauga/Brampton) Celtic and East Coast folk music
 3:30:   David Storey (Inglewood) guitar/voice folk-rock

Art, crafts, food and information kiosks: Eighteen kiosks offer the best of everything.

Walden Pottery (Denise Keats, Milton)
Tithorea, Dora’s Kitchen (Guelph)
Candy Heaven (Jemma Dowrah, Acton)
Glass and Wire Art (Tania Orton and Nadia von Windheim, Eden Mills)
Diana Snaps Jewelry (Melissa Gissing)
Janet Reid Wilson Art Studio (Eden Mills)
Idlewood Honey (Eden Mills)
Metalscape (Doris Treleaven, Acton)
River’s Edge Gift Shop (Rockwood)
Fibre Rhapsody (Heather Nagel)
Taste Real
Rockwood Conservation Area (GRCA)
Guelph Outdoor School
Guelph-Eramosa Township
Concerned Residents Coalition (Rockwood)
Rockwood Farmers’ Market and Community Garden
Rare Charitable Research Reserve (Cambridge)
Safe Communities (Guelph Eramosa)

                                                         MEDIA RELEASE - September 22, 2014

                                                                    First Rockwood Mushroom Fest Finds its Medium!

Rockwood, September 22, 2014…The first Rockwood Mushroom Fest drew a big crowd on Saturday last.  About 1000 attendees of all ages came to learn about mushrooms.  There is no question that people are vitally curious about mushrooms!  Most wanted to be sure that the festival would return in 2015 and some attendees, inveterate mushroom lovers, have already offered to help plan for next year. The sunny, warm day created a relaxed atmosphere and encouraged people to linger.  The grounds of St. John’s Anglican Church easily absorbed the crowd.  At the centre of all the activity, Father Marcus Germaine, Minister at St. John’s Church which provided the festival site, played MC, keeping everyone on track.  

All day long people crowded around the “All About Mushrooms” display which featured mushrooms at various stages of growth and fifteen varieties of mushrooms which people were able for people to see, touch and smell (white, brown, portabello, grey oyster, yellow oyster, king oyster, shitake, maitake, enoki, honey, lobster, cauliflower, white chanterelle, pine (or matsutaki) and a puff ball donated by a guest to the festival.) At another booth, baskets of mushrooms sold like hotcakes! Two presentations on mushrooms’ capacity to positively affect our health and on foraging for mushrooms in Ontario were followed by a flood of questions from the audience.

Nearby at the Church Hall there was a lively crowd as people lined up to taste hundreds of delicious mushroom recipe samples by eight regional chefs as well as wine from four Ontario wineries– Southbrook, Tawse, Bachelder and Scotch Block.  Three chef demonstrations held audiences spellbound over several hours.  Chefs Yasser Qahawish of Artisanale, Roger Dufau of Drew House and Paul Mattina of Mattina’s Cucina created an intimate atmosphere and encouraged a friendly dialogue with the audience while discussing the subtleties of cooking mushrooms, a food they all revere. 

Fourteen vendors displayed everything from felt mushroom tea cosies to metal sculptures.  The suppliers of the produce for the chefs included W&T Mushroom, Rockwood, Tithorea’s olive oil, Guelph, Glen Duff Farms lamb, Rockwood and Daniel’s Cheese, Cambridge. They also had booths at the festival.  The Concerned Residents Coalition booth was a cornucopia of hand-made jewellery, hand warmers in the shape of wide-eyed owls, bird feeders, sewn goods and more for sale to raise funds to support their work – all hand made.

Thirty-three regional artists displayed art in many forms including batik, water colour, sculpture, oils, photography and three-dimensional felt portraits on the theme of the mushroom.  There is no doubt that mushrooms are photogenic and seductive muses!

There were seven community groups present to provide information to festival attendees. They included Food Grains, East Wellington Community Services, St. John’s Anglican Church, SAFE COMMUNITIES/Guelph Eramosa, GET Township, TasteReal, and the Yorklands Hub Project.   

Six wonderful young winners of regional and provincial recognition in the Kiwanis Festival of Guelph, including Rockwood’s own guitarist Graham Heuman, played in the acoustically warm and intimate church, while on the outdoor stage six more songwriters and performers, including James Gordon, Guelph, and Blue Yonder and Ian Reid from Rockwood.  They provided great entertainment and a good excuse to eat ice cream on the grass beside children playing on a giant snakes and ladders game, complete with blow up dice.

It was an auspicious beginning for the little mushroom idea that has now bloomed.  Great ideas for another year are sprouting up everywhere just like, shall we say it?, mushrooms! 

For more information, please contact Linda Sword 519-853-1896

                                                                                   MEDIA RELEASE - June 25, 2015

                                                     Rockwood Mushroom Fest 2015
                                                    Launched with RBC Sponsorship

                                                             For immediate release

Rockwood, June 25, 2015…Plans for the 2015, Second Annual Rockwood Mushroom Fest, were announced today.  This year’s festival date is September 19, from 10 am to 5 pm.  At the same time, RBC’s Rockwood Branch and RBC Wealth Management Dominion Securities, presented a cheque to the festival for a $1000 sponsorship of the Indoor Mushroom Stage. The presentation took place on the Green at St. John’s Anglican Church in Rockwood, the festival venue in the heart of Rockwood.

"RBC is proud to support the local community and bring the Rockwood Mushroom Festival to food lovers from near and far," said

Lisa Porterfield, Branch Manager, of Rockwood’s community-minded RBC.  She was joined by Karie Ann Huisman of Bird,

Elinesky and Schuett of RBC’s Dominion Securities.  This is the second year of RBC sponsorship for the festival.

The second Rockwood Mushroom Fest will build on the first year’s success.  In 2014, 1000 visitors sampled food and wine, enjoyed presentations on the health and medical benefits of mushrooms, and visited a mushroom exhibit displaying beds of mushrooms at different stages of growth as well as myriad mushroom species.

This year’s festival will double the number of presentations on mushrooms on the RBC-sponsored Indoor Mushroom Stage to 4; it will also double the number of chefs and food samples from 8 to 16; increase the number of vendor kiosks; and include more information on wild mushrooms.  In fact, GRCA interpreters will make a presentation on the Indoor Stage, as well as lead two wild-mushroom-identifying hikes in the nearby Rockwood Conservation Area during the festival. 

Special features this year will include everything from Guelph’s Artisanale French Country Cooking’s chef Yasser Qahawish describing preserving techniques for a wide range of wild mushrooms, to the taste of mushroom-infused fresh pasta from Bellwood’s Pangaea Pasta. Royal City Brewery will provide the featured local craft beer for tasting and purchase, and several Ontario wineries will be featured again – including returning wineries Tawse and Bachelder, with wine sponsor Lifford Wines and Spirits.  It goes without saying that Ontario mushrooms will be available for purchase at the festival.

The festival includes live concerts all day long on the Mushroom Stage overlooking the Green where visitors can relax in a friendly atmosphere.  Nearby children can enjoy a dedicated play area.  Ice cream and food trucks (with a mushroom attitude!) complete the day’s menu.

Another vital feature of Rockwood Mushroom Fest is the Where the Mushrooms Are Art Show which seeks to showcase the Mighty Mushroom, wherever you might find it, in the wild, in the greengrocer’s barrow or in the cooking pan. Artists are invited to submit up to three works of art on the theme of the mushroom in any medium.  A People’s Choice vote will determine prize winners in two categories -- adult and children 12 years and younger.  Artists may also choose to offer their work for sale.  Information and application forms are available on the festival website.

The festival has partnered with taste•real this year to bring word of this culinary event to an ever larger audience of local food lovers.  The mission of taste•real as an initiative of Guelph Wellington Local Food is to support local small businesses and farms to build stronger rural communities and grow one of the most vibrant, local food economies and food tourism destinations in Ontario.

Rockwood Mushroom Fest is fun for every age.  Watch for full program details this summer!

Rockwood Mushroom Fest Details

Date: Saturday, September 19, 2015
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Location: St. John’s Anglican Church, 112 Guelph St. and Hwy. 7, in the heart of Rockwood
Box Office:    Music in the Wood, 122 Main Street South, Rockwood, 519-856-9266
For box office hours, visit
Entry Tickets:            $5; Children 12 and under - Free
At the Festival:          An arm’s-length of Fest-tickets for food tasting: $2 each or 12 for $20
Art Show "Where the Mushrooms Are": Susan Johnson 519-856-2364/

Media contact: Linda Sword 519-853-1896