BORD Bia recently announced the national mushroom industry is getting bigger and in East Limerick so is the size of them.
It has a farm gate value of €132 million and one man they should certainly hire is John Franklin, from Ballyneety, Pallasgreen. Last summer he found two mushrooms weighing 5lbs 5ozs and 7lbs and 3ozs.
Then on Friday night, John and his son Jack found two mushrooms that dwarfed last year’s crop.
“I was down at my mother’s house and spotted them below the Oak tree at the bottom of the garden. They big one is twice the size of last year’s a way.
“One is 16lbs 3ozs and the other is 7lbs 2ozs. They were right beside each other - the small one was growing up against the side of the big one,” said John.
Jack and his friends, Darragh and David Curtin, couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw the two mushrooms, and they weren’t the only ones.
“Anybody I said it to can’t get over it, especially for the time of the year. I suppose it is very mild but it is still November. I saw a few fairy mushrooms there before but nothing like this.
“Jack and his friends were amazed. They were talking about them all weekend. He took the photographs to school on Monday,” said John, who is a big GAA man and goes to all the matches.
He often gets slagged after the stories appeared in the Leader and made national headlines last year.
“They remember it alright but it’s all a bit of fun,” he laughed. The Derek Mooney Show even contacted John to say the mushrooms are edible but John isn’t convinced.
“One fellow said the bigger they are the nicer they are but I don’t know, I’d like to see someone else eat them first!” said John.
If anybody is brave enough to try them he says he will bring a sample to The Local Bar in Doon on Saturday night for a fundraising table quiz.
The quiz is to support the 78th annual Doon Coursing Club meeting on Saturday and Sunday, December 3 and 4.
Mr Franklin is also involved in a campaign to raise money to buy a wheelchair accessible mini-bus for the Brothers of Charity run Clos Grianach in Doon.
“Without it their outings and social life is very limited. There are no funds available from the services at the moment to provide this sort of transport. It’s badly needed,” said John, who was one of the organiser of the “Who is in the Coffin” event in Pallasgreen during Halloween.
“In Cinderella didn’t a pumpkin turn in to a carriage? Well you never know, our giant mushroom might turn in to a new mini-bus yet!” said John. If anybody would like to support the charitable cause please get in touch with Clos Grianach in Doon.