“The Blend”
Have you heard of The Blend? If you’re looking to add a new twist of flavor to your favorite recipes you can accomplish that with mushrooms! Known as “The Blend” you replace ¼ to ½ of the ground meat that a recipe calls for and instead add chopped mushrooms. Along with adding amazing flavor, The Blend also reduces the intake of fat and calories as well.
Any mushrooms would work, but Shiitake would really add a lot more of the umami flavor to a meaty dish like meatloaf, meatballs, burgers or anything you are using ground meat for. It also adds a nice flavor to ground turkey or any other ground meat in a dish, even breakfast sausage. Mixing up the type of mushrooms can add different flavors as well.
If you would like more information on The Blend, check out this website ran by The Mushroom Council. http://blenditarian.com/
Medicinal mushrooms are mushrooms that are used as medicine. They have been used to treat infection for hundreds of years, mostly in Asia. Today, medicinal mushrooms are also used to treat lung diseases and cancer. For more than 30 years, medicinal mushrooms have been approved as an addition to standard cancer treatments in Japan and China. In these countries, mushrooms have been used safely for a long time, either alone or combined with radiation or chemotherapy.
The PDQ cancer information summary linked below gives an overview of the use of medicinal mushrooms in treating cancer by the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov).
-Chris K.

In the northern states, the morel mushroom season has started or is about to start depending on your location. This usher in all sorts of old tales about when and where to look, usually being a mix of fact, fiction, and tall tales. Did you know one of the main factors in determining when Morel mushrooms will start to emerge is the soil temperature?

When there has been sufficient rain, and the soil temperature at around 4 inches deep reaches 55 degrees the Morel mushrooms will start to emerge. When the soil temperature reaches 62 degrees they will cease to fruit. You can search online for soil temperature maps to see what your local soil temperatures are. Many agricultural seed suppliers supply these soil temperature maps online to assist farmers in knowing when to plant their crops, and they are handy tools for mushroom hunting as well!



The oldest mushroom found in amber is from 90 million years ago—a Cordyceps. Scientists recently discovered a fossil first uncovered in 1859 and named Prototaxites, dating back more than 420 million years, a time when the tallest plants were around 2 feet tall. Prototaxites was 3 feet tall laying down, but if standing was nearly 30 feet high. In either case, it would be the tallest organism on land…and it was a giant fungus! 

– Paul Stamets

We all know that Vitamin D is essential to health and that most of us in the northern hemisphere tend to be deficient during the winter months due to less sunlight. But did you know one of the few ways to get Vitamin D from a non-meat or dairy source is from mushrooms? If you are vegetarian or vegan you likely already knew this. However, did you know that laying your mushrooms with the underside facing up, exposed to sunlight can drastically increase the Vitamin D levels?
One study done by the USDA tested many types of mushrooms from different sources for Vitamin D levels. Some mushroom producers expose their mushrooms to intense UV lights to increase the Vitamin D levels. One producer of portabella mushrooms tested by the USDA had mushrooms with a Vitamin D level of 10 IU per 100 grams, and after a 20-second exposure to UV light, Vitamin D levels rose to 446 IU per 100 grams. That is over 40 times the original level in 20 seconds, but these were industrial UV light sources. If you want to do this yourself I would likely leave mushrooms gills up in a cool spot exposed to sunlight for an hour or two. This would keep them from wilting and dehydrating while exposed, but that may not matter depending on your recipe or how you plan to use them. By the way, yes the Vitamin D levels remained increased after cooking as well! Check out this article as well for more information about mushrooms and Vitamin D.

Monday Minute

Similar to apples, mushrooms grown commercially are clones of a single original mushroom. Wild mushrooms with unique desirable qualities are collected and cloned. Unlike apples, in order to clone mushrooms, it must be done in as sterile an environment as possible and usually done by taking a piece of the mushroom and letting it grow on agar in a petri dish. A few mold spores on the petri dish is enough to possibly kill the mushroom. Agar is the substance you see in the bottom of a petri dish and it is basically just jello that is usually made from a type of seaweed. The mushroom grows mycelium off of it that then gets nutrients from the agar and continues to grow. Mycelium is the fungus that grows below the ground or in the tree. This is the “plant” and the mushrooms we eat are just the fruit of the fungus. Compared to apples the mycelium is equal to the tree and the mushroom is equal to the apple. The mycelium is usually much much larger than the mushroom it fruits. In fact, the largest living organism on the planet is a fungus in Oregon that covers 2,384 acres or roughly 1,665 football fields It may also be the oldest organism on the planet estimated to be between 2,400 years old and possibly 8,650 years old.


Did you know that all named types of apples are a clone from 1 original apple tree? If you plant an apple seed you never know what type might grow. Of the thousands of apple cultivars only around 3 will grow true to the parent from seed. The rest must be pollinated from another type of apple tree and therefore the seed contains genetic material from both parent trees. In comparison to humans with around 30,000 genes, apple trees contain around 57,000 genes.  The Granny Smith apple that you eat today came from a tree that is a clone of the original tree grown by Maria Ann (Granny) Smith of Australia in 1886. It was a chance seedling that sprouted where Maria dumped a bunch of crab apples along a creek. From that tree cuttings were taken and grafted onto other seedling trees (root stock trees) to produce exact copies (clones) of the original.

-Chris k.

While the below facts are based on numbers from Indiana, other states are very similar. These are just some of the reasons why a focus on local food is very important.
  • “Indiana is the 10th largest farm state in the U.S., yet 90% of the food Indiana residents eat is sourced outside of the state. In particular, 98% of the fruits and vegetables Hoosiers eat were imported into Indiana.” — Ken Meter (Crossroads Resource Center), Hoosier Farmer Emergent Food Systems in Indiana (commissioned by IN State Dept. of Health), 2012
  • “ 10% = $1 billion. If we substituted 10% of our current at-home household food budget with locally grown and produced food, we would generate over a billion dollars of economic activity in Indiana. That’s just $458 per year per household.” — Jodee Ellett (Local Foods Coordinator, Purdue Extension), Purdue Extension Local Food Program info sheet, 2016
  • The #1 restaurant concept trend for 2017 is hyper-local ingredient sourcing. Three of the other top 10 trends revolve around local food: Environmental Sustainability (#4), Locally sourced produce (#5), Locally sourced meat and seafood (#6). — National Restaurant Association, What’s Hot 2017 Culinary Forecast
-Chris Knipstein

Did everyone have a great weekend? We sure did at the Fort Wayne Farmers Market. With the start of a new week, we are wanting to do a series called “Monday Minute”! It is our hope that these will be short blurbs aimed at educating the public about mushrooms, urban farming, and local market culture.

Monday Minute

The Lentinus Edodes “Shiitake” mushroom is the second most widely cultivated mushroom in the world. In the wild Shiitake grow in groups on the decaying wood of deciduous, hardwood trees. They are found naturally only in the warm and moist areas of Southeast Asia. The name comes from the Shii tree that they are most commonly found on and “take” meaning mushroom.
At Windrose Urban Farm the Shiitake are grown on hardwood sawdust blocks. The sawdust is a by-product of the lumber industry in Indiana. The process of growing Shiitake mushrooms can take nearly 3 months from start to harvest. Spent mushroom blocks can also be reused by vermicomposting, putting the blocks through a worm farm designed to produce a rich compost that will be used to grow vegetables. These worms thrive on the mycelium, the fungal organism that the mushrooms fruit from. That compost created by the worms is one of the best natural fertilizers for vegetable growing.
-Chris Knipstein