I had a dream last night that I was hunting mushrooms across Kachemak Bay. It was a great dream. The moment of finding that perfect specimen is both surprise and ingenuity, knowing where to look and when and knowing what to look for all wrapped up into the brief time that a mushroom is actually fruiting and available.
But that dream was totally fiction because actually I don’t know my mushrooms well enough to risk finding the right ones in the wild. Lucky for me, there is Darius Kleine.
Fritz Creek Fungi is one of the Homer Farmers Market’s new vendors this year. Darius has taken it upon himself to provide Homerites with some of the finest mushrooms you have ever seen.
If you have ever Googled “10 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World” you have seen Paul Stamets and his inspirational perspective on fungi. Darius has taken the techniques Stamets uses to raise mushrooms indoors, carefully culturing the mycelium in a sterile environment.
With these intensive techniques, Darius is into growing quality rather than variety. He specializes in Blue and Pearl Oyster mushrooms that are big, beautiful and perfect for any culinary endeavor. As a matter of fact, Darius points out that restaurants could gobble up his mushroom supply in no time.
But he loves supplying the Market instead. It’s about getting to interact with folks, answer questions about his process, see the appreciation of his customers, and even sell his other homestead goods like eggs, veggies, starts and kombucha.
It is that interaction that is the hallmark of the Market. Fungi grow underground forming a network of delicate connections, a web very similar to the relationships we see each day at the Market. This week you may connect with some of Bob Durr’s tomatoes, Cindy McKenna’s music, or Lori Jenkin’s Chef at the Market demonstration showing how to use garlic scapes.
Hmm … imagine garlic scapes and mushrooms together.
So head on down to the Market on Ocean Drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays or from 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays to see what you connect with and take home.
Kyra Wagner is the coordinator for Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan — at least one of them.