All summer I have been highlighting different producers from the Homer Farmers Market. I have talked about acres under production, techniques and infrastructure.
But occasionally the Market sees a booth stocked with produce that wasn’t produced by the farmer at all. Mike “Spoonman” Glasgow didn’t plant or fertilize, water or weed any of the produce in his booth this last weekend. He harvested it from the biggest farm of all.
There are about 28 different wild mushrooms that Mike knows well and he found a mother lode of some of the best ever to offer. He had King Boletes (appropriately named), Aspen and Birch Boletes, Matsutake and Hawkwings.
Full of information, Mike can tell you about the best way to cook any of them and show you the best versions of each.
In the “button” stage, before they flare completely open, mushrooms are the most prized by chefs. Once they open it is referred to as the “flag” stage. Since this means they are spreading spores, mushroom hunters see this as a “flag” for more mushrooms there next season.
Mike will be the first to say that there is a lot to know about mushrooms and there is no one book that is the perfect reference. Reading them all as well as taking classes and then compiling all the information has been his technique.
His research also taught him the value of these rarities. The Matsutakes, for instance, will fetch $1,800 per pound in Japan and $90 per pound in the Pacific Northwest. Here in Homer, $20 per pound is about what Mike charges.
Mike didn’t get specific as to his harvest location except to say that it was almost to Seward. But he is full of suggestions for what to look for once you are in the forest. If you come upon a moose or elk that won’t leave even when it sees you approaching, for instance, you may have just found a tasty stash.
So come on down to the Homer Farmers Market on Ocean Drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and from 3 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays to see what has popped up.
Kyra Wagner is the director of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.