It’s Day of the Mushroom today! To celebrate, here’s a little behind-the-scenes view of the process of cultivating mushrooms.
Our wild, foraged mushroom selection varies with the seasons, but our cultivated organic mushrooms are available all year. Grown in large mushroom houses, with just the right amount of humidity and at the perfect temperature, these fungi are a minor miracle.
In an effort to recreate the natural conditions of the forest, pristine wood pulp, or another similar substrate, is steamed and purified, then is inoculated with specific mushroom spores.
The inoculated material is placed in large jars with wide mouths. The jars are placed into trays, and then on shelves, which fill large rooms. The mushrooms grow rapidly in the controlled conditions, and they are monitored and harvested at the optimum time. Because they are not on the forest floor, these mushrooms are not subject to insects and other factors in nature that can compromise their quality.
The organic mushroom farm grows several tasty varieties of mushroom. We offer a selection of these in our Organic Chef’s Mushroom Mix. This mix is a favorite of our chef clients, but we package it for the home cook in a 1 lb container. See below for more details about each mushroom.
Trumpet Royale – firm, meaty, porcini-like texture. The caps can span up to two inches and they have compact stems. The cap and stem have the same texture and flavor, so you can halve the mushroom and toss with olive oil, then grill. Or sauté in butter and pair with Chardonnay.
White Beech – small white mushrooms with one-inch caps and crunchy texture. Excellent with seafood and shellfish. Cook in olive oil, duck fat or butter. Pairs well with garlic, parsley, tarragon, red bell pepper, tomato, citrus juice. Drink Sauvignon Blanc with this one.
Hon-shimeji – similar to the White Beech, with a crunchy texture and a mild seafood flavor. Caps are one inch and lightly marbled tan or mocha. Small clusters can be roasted in the oven to concentrate flavors. Pairs with light red wines or Sauvignon Blanc, seafood, grilled veal, almond, goat cheese and thyme.
Velvet Pioppini – intense flavor with early notes and dark-chocolate colored caps that are silky. The stems are cream-colored and similar to asparagus in texture. Traditional in pastas, good with grilled red meats, veal and game, garlic, oregano. Pair with medium to full-bodied red wines.