Valley Bounty: Mushrooms

Many of the products our local farms are famous for are available for a short window each year. The seasonality of these foods makes for its own special occasion: asparagus, berries, apples, pumpkins, and more each get an annual moment in the spotlight. There are plenty of other local farm products that are available all year round, and their consistency might make them a little less apt to stand out amid the throng of seasonal foods at the farmers’ market or on the shelves of the grocery store. For example, we’re lucky enough to have a number of local farms growing and selling mushrooms all year round, at summer and winter farmers’ markets and at local retailers. So as we wait for flavors and colors of the summer harvest, I encourage you to take these last few days of winter to get acquainted with some of our local fungal friends.

Sautéing some shiitake and oyster mushrooms (two of the varieties more widely available from local farms) in butter and a splash of red wine along with some shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, and a sprig or two of fresh thyme is a quick and easy mushroom dish that’s widely applicable — the Brits would eat this on toast, but it also goes great on chicken or pasta.

Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)