Strange and Spectacular Setas La Bruja

Promoting a healthy lifestyle, local businesses and sustainable options is what we are all about so we were thrilled to meet the lovely husband and wife (Flor and Idrian) running a young (less than one year old) local, small business: Setas la Bruja.

The Beginning and the End: Setas

As teh title suggests, and as you might remember from your biology classes, mushrooms or fungi really are the alpha and the omega of life in our biosphere. Through fungi biological matter in decomposition is absorbed and turns into the next phase of life. Perhaps that is why mushrooms can be used as a health supplement and a nutritional boost by providing us with essential nutrients for our microbiomes, skin and hair to name but a few. Mushrooms are one of the best protein substitutes for vegetarians and vegans and Flor told us that if you exposes your mushrooms to sunlight before eating them you will get a bosst of Vitamin D as they are able to synthesize the sunlight.

Perhaps what you didn’t know about mushrooms is that they are incredibly sensitive to contaminants and they themselves are incredibly balanced and hygenic entities. One of the most important steps in their cultivation in Setas la Bruja is ensuring that no cross contamination occurs in order to preserve the best quality mushrooms. This includes clean conditions, gloves and a regular full deep clean of the cave (more on that later) where they are grown. This due to the fact that mushrooms feed on anything organic so one must be extremely careful when handling them.

Setas la Bruja Grow Fungi in a Piece of History

Now on to the specifics of what make Setas la Bruja so unique and so special. Located in the hills that look towards the impressive El Mèdano the farm boasts one of the biggest local (man made) caves in the area. Originally the cave where now Flor and Irian grow their tasty mushrooms was a Jable extraction mine run by Irian’s great-grandfather. Jable is a local mineral that can be defined as “volcanic ash”, it si a very porous rock which was used primarily due to this porous property, which traps humidity but allows for water drainange, perfect for gowing potatoes and other produces essential for substenance in a very dry area of Tenerife. Now Jable is considered a heritage material and sites where it is found are protected by law. 

But their work begins above ground, the fundamental part of growing mushrooms begins with choosing the right substrate and the right mulch and mixing it with mushroom seedlings, this is then packed tightly into a brick like shape bound by perforated (recycled and recyclable) plastic in order to allow for humidity regulation. This process is done by hand for now, but Flor and Irian are looking to add a mechanical tool to help them with production (currently they are producing about 400kg of mushrooms per week!).

After these blocks are made, they are transferred into the cave to incubate in what would be the summer season in nature, with limited humidity and higher temperatures. Once the seedlings sprount they are moved into a bigger chamber of the cave, into “autumn” so to speak. Where temperatures drop, humidity increaes (they are doused in mist, never directly watered) and the plastic encasing is slashed to allow the mushrooms to fully bloom. Amazingly this processes takes only about 4-6 days!

What to expect from this tour of Setas la Bruja

If you choose to take this tour you can expect to get to know another side of Tenerife, you can experiene agricultural and mineral history now three generations old. You will become intimately aquainted with the world of fungi, how they operate and the slew of benefits they can offer.

All in all, if you are interested in mushrooms, caves, minerals or anything like that you shouldn’t miss it! So make a detour on your way to the striking El Mèdano and visit Setas la Bruja!

Disclaimer: this activity is not currently available as Setas la Bruja is still waiting on some permits, we will update it as soon as live.

Our favorites

Learning all about the mushroom cuultivation proces
Discovering a piece of local history through the history of the cave
The possibility of making our own mushroom starter
Sampling the delicious mushroms
The organic and natural ethos of the farm

Canary Green’s tips to enjoying sustainable tourism in Tenerife

Visiting Tenerife on holiday doesn’t give you free rein to leave your values and principles at home. We encourage travellers to seek out sustainable options and keep up with environmental practices while travelling. Our top tips for a relaxed and wholesome stay include: 

  • Consider green transport options. Are you able to take a ferry to the island instead of flying? While you are here is a car necessary? Investigate public transport links or choose green options such as electric cars, green-hydrogen cars or e-bikes.
  • Choose destinations that value sustainability and choose green alternatives such as solar power, recycling and energy-efficient architecture. This extends to places that value workers’ rights and the impact on the local community.
  • Bring your own water bottle with you and refill it instead of buying single-use plastic bottles.
  • Make use of the recycling when out and about and don’t just throw your rubbish in the nearest bin.
  • Take advantage of local knowledge and immerse yourself in the culture through campaigns such as #Ilovecanarias and #meatfreemondaycanarias
  • Most of all, have fun and enjoy your time in the Canary Islands.

If you are interested in booking a tour with Setas La Bruja and supporting sustainable tourism in Tenerife, find more details here

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Thank you

Thank you to everyone involved in this Canary Green project where our aim is to help promote sustainable tourism in the Canary Islands.

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