Medicinal Mushrooms from the Mariaville Men
Written by Margot Reisner, a summer intern for Saratoga Farmers’ Market, and 2014 graduate of Skidmore College.
The Mariaville Mushroom Men have arrived at Saratoga Farmers’ Market with a collection of delicious and medicinal mushrooms.
The Chandler family owns the Mariaville Farm, located in Delanson (Schenectady County). This family includes Bobby Chandler, the man you may have seen at the market with a magnificent mustache and a wealth of knowledge about mycelium. His family has owned a Black Angus farm for 25 years and after his marriage in 2011, he looked for a way to expand on his parents’ farm operation.
Chandler’s background is in pharmacy, so naturally, he was amazed and inspired by the medicinal powers of mushrooms. Especially after reading the book Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets, he knew that he would work with mushrooms for the rest of his life. He was impressed by the ability of fungi to clean up oil spills and environmental pollution. And his disapproval of the modern drug industry further encouraged him to share the healing abilities of mushrooms with the world.
Chandler started growing mushrooms on his family’s farm and so far, the operation has been a huge success. The Mariaville Mushroom Men sell gourmet mushrooms, medicinal teas and seasonings at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from their booth on the south lawn. They grow shiitake, oyster and lions mane mushrooms. These mushroom varieties are cultivated both indoors and outdoors, and the growing techniques on the Mariaville Farm lead to super healthy fungus and a food product of the highest quality.
By bringing their fungi to market, the Mariaville Mushroom Men provide a whole slew of healing properties for consumers and they are always excited to tell customers about these benefits. Shiitake mushrooms are known to reduce cholesterol, prevent cancer and boost the immune system. Oyster mushrooms are antiviral and antibacterial. They also moderate blood pressure and support the nervous system. Lions mane mushrooms offer all of the above benefits in addition to being anti-tumor and helping to regenerate nerves and cells.
In addition to all of these medicinal benefits, mushrooms are full of protein, fiber and flavor, making a great addition to any meal. They are used in a variety of ways in many cuisines around the world. Mushrooms can be treated like an accent vegetable or as the main source of protein in a meal. They are excellent in soups, stir-fries, salads, tacos and more.
Stop by the Mariaville Mushroom Men booth on Saturday to find out more about the amazing powers of fungi!
Shiitake Mushroom and Chorizo Tacos
Very thinly sliced jicama (a mild-flavored Mexican root vegetable) can be substituted in place of regular tortillas. (See the recipe section on themushroommen.com.)
*Ingredients currently available at market. Mushrooms available only on Saturdays.
1 pound shiitake mushrooms*
8 ounces chorizo sausage*, diced into ½” cubes
½ white onion, peeled and minced
2 Tablespoon olive oil
Hot sauce (optional), to taste
Salt, to taste
Clean mushrooms, remove stems, slice into ¼” slices, and set aside.
In large skillet over medium heat, sauté the diced chorizo sausage for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the sausage has browned and released some of the fat, scoop the sausage out of the pan and into a small bowl, leaving the rendered fat behind.
Add half of the mushrooms to the pan, covering pan in one layer, without overcrowding. Stir the mushrooms gently to absorb some of the fat in the pan; add pinch of salt. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Scoop cooked mushrooms into a medium bowl and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and repeat process with remaining mushrooms.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the minced onion to the pan, a pinch of salt, and sauté for 5-6 minutes, until golden brown.
Stir mushrooms and chorizo into the cooked onions in the pan. Taste, and adjust seasoning, adding hot sauce or salt as needed. Spoon the taco filling into a serving bowl with a slotted spoon. Serve with warmed tortillas and desired condiments.