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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Shroomin': 10 Facts About the Strange World of Mushrooms

Posted By on Wed, Oct 24, 2012 at 3:00 PM

  • Bay Ewald

While meandering through the Heart of the City Farmers' Market in UN plaza, I stumbled upon Far West Fungi. I had never seen a booth solely devoted to mushrooms, and I became more interested once I started talking to the employees about all the different uses for fungi. After I left, I was compelled to learn more about the fascinating and uniquely strange world that surrounds mushrooms.

See also:

Heart of the City Farmers' Market Finds

Gather's Braised Mushroom Sandwich

Three's A Trend: Mushroom Desserts

Fact #1: Mushrooms have no chlorophyll so they do not need sunshine to grow and thrive. Some of the earliest mushroom farms were set up in caves in France during the reign of King Lous XIV.

Fact #2: One portabello mushroom has more potassium than a banana.

  • Bay Ewald

Fact #3: Mushrooms are a good source of copper, a mineral that the body needs to produce red blood cells.

Fact #4: Mushrooms have significant amounts of B-complex vitamins which help release energy from the fat, protein, and carbohydrates in food.

Fact #5: Truffles, or mushrooms that grow below the ground, are one of the world's most expensive foods. One variety (Tuber melansporum) can cost between $800 and $1500 per pound.

  • Bay Ewald

Fact #6: The largest living organism ever found is a honey mushrooms, Armillaria ostoyae, which covers 3.4 square miles of land in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon. And get this -- it's still growing.

Fact #7: You can create brilliant colors by boiling wild mushrooms and dipping cloth into the dye. If this intrigues you, check out The Rainbow Beneath My Feet, a mushroom dyer's field guide.


Fact #8: Mushrooms are being used in bioremediation to absorb and digest dangerous substances like oil, pesticides, and industrial waste in places where they threaten the environment.

Fact #9: 7. The spores of mushrooms are made of chitin, the hardest naturally made substance on Earth.

Fact #10: There are more than 70,000 kinds of mushrooms on the planet today yet only a fraction (about 250) of those types are edible.

So...if you're diggin' all this shroom talk, give Far West Fungi organic mushrooms a try. Their farm uses a balance of modern and traditional growing techniques in order to maintain high quality mushrooms while ensuring minimal impact on the environment. You can find them at farmers' markets across San Francisco including Heart of the City and Castro market on Wednesdays and Noe Valley and the Ferry Buiding market on Fridays.

The magic and mysteries of mushrooms will never cease to amaze me!

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Bay Ewald


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