Farmers Market Update: Fungus Festival

by | Nov 8, 2008

Today is the Fungus Festival at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Mushrooms of all size, shapes and colors made for a beautiful display at Far West Fungi (though this is a normal sight for market regulars).

At the festival, participants could see demonstrations on how to choose and cook edible fungi, and nearby vendors offered suggestions on the best wines and cheeses to pair with the day’s selections.
I bought some shiitake mushrooms to go with my Soul Food eggs from Prather Ranch. Eggs with mushrooms is one of my favorite weekend treats.
Mushrooms are a great source of fiber and can provide other nutrients, including potassium and

iron. They contain some vitamins as well, particularly B vitamins.

My other purchases today mark a notable shift from the usual. My goal at the market is always to get at least 5 dinners and 5 lunches for the week. But since my beautiful summer tomatoes are now out of season, I can no longer rely on salads for lunch. This means I also did not buy cucumbers or salad greens. Instead I will try roasting vegetables this weekend and reheating them at work. Stay tuned to find out how that goes.
I also want to take this opportunity to give you all the heads up on the Warren pears at Frog Hollow right now. They are to die for!
Here’s what I brought home:
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Soul Food eggs
  • Warren pears
  • Dino kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Baby leeks
  • Golden beets
  • Sunchokes
  • Flame grapes
  • Padrones
  • Pasilla pepper
  • Giant fuyu persimmon
  • Arkansas black apple
  • Pomegranates
  • Pain epi baguette
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6 Responses to “Farmers Market Update: Fungus Festival”

  1. Anonymous says:

    If chocolate persimmons are brown on the inside, are the arkansas black apples black on the inside?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m curious, how much do you spend each week at the market? What is the most and least you’ve ever spent?

  3. Darya Pino says:

    anon:

    We shall see!

    —–
    anon#2:

    Great question! I usually spend about $30 at the market. This is if I am only planning to feed myself during a normal work week.

    Of course, this amount goes up dramatically if I buy any meat or seafood, or if I cook for more than just myself.

    As I mentioned, this usually buys me 5 lunches and dinners, and a fruit supplement for my breakfast. I do usually add a protein (legumes, eggs or fish) to lunch, however.

    The remaining meals in my week require either a trip to my local corner market or dining out in a restaurant.

  4. tbone says:

    What type of mushrooms are available to the rest of the traditional world in supermarkets?

    Can i prepare several meals and reheat?

    Can they last a week in my fridge/counter?

    Why go to such an effort? Do these have any nutritional value? I've experienced fungus's unique taste but it has never been used more than just a garnish (yum, Yardhous's truffle mac&cheese), can you make a meal around them?

  5. julie says:

    Wow, I spend more than you, and I shop at the cheap Farmer’s Market (Alemany). Ferry Building is like Whole Foods, I go to get one thing, and end up spending $30. I buy a LOT of fruit, though, so that drives up my prices. What do you do with sunchokes? I’ve heard that they are, uh, gas-producing, so I’ve not tried them.

    BTW, the brussel sprouts were awesome.

  6. Darya Pino says:

    tbone:

    The most common mushrooms at supermarkets are the white buttons and the brown crimini. These days you can also find an occasional portobello or shiitake. Fancier places like Whole Foods will have a broad selection including oysters, trumpets and chantarelles.

    Yes, you can prepare several meals and reheat. Mushrooms pair particularly well with barley, but are also good with red meats or cooked with onions and put into salads or egg dishes.

    How long they last depends on how fresh they are. Definitely keep them unrinsed in the fridge. You should be able to get 4-5 days out of them, but I’ve had some go moldy after 24 hours. I was angry.

    The portobellos are the easiest to make a meal around, because they are huge. They actually work wonderfully as a meat substitute–as a burger for example.

    Otherwise they are just a nice addition of texture and flavor (especially shiitakes) to make other dishes more interesting. I make mushrooms on their own quite a bit. I find them fascinating and exotic, so I will often buy them for my more upscale dinners.

    Nutritionally they add fiber, minerals and some vitamins. But we should try not to think too much in terms of micronutrients. Just because we haven’t discovered that mushrooms reduce your risk of some cancer does not mean they don’t. Variety is the key to good health.

    —–
    julie:

    I totally feel you. The reason I spend under $50 is because I try to spend under $50. I admit it is much easier in the winter when there are no $4/lb pluots and peaches around. Apples are not as expensive.

    One example of how I save money, I have been buying bunches of kale for $2. That makes me 2 dinners (with kale as the main ingredient). I consider that pretty good bang for my buck.

    I will be getting to the sunchokes eventually. I heard what you heard too, so I am definitely careful when I eat them. Haven’t had any problems so far though :)

    I want to practice preparing them a few different ways before I post a recipe. The first time I just cut them up and sauteed them with garlic and parsley and they were delicious. They go amazingly well with spinach!

    Glad you liked the sprouts :)

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