Sheltowee Farm Oyster Mushrooms: Colorful, Delicious

Sheltowee Trace Oyster Mushrooms, Bath County, Kentucky

Sheltowee Trace Oyster Mushrooms, Bath County, Kentucky

Until Blue Moon Farm began offering oyster mushrooms at the Lexington Farmers Market -- an era that may have already ended -- I had no idea these fungi could be coral or lemon yellow. These Kentucky-grown mushrooms glow enough to be faintly scary -- but I am bigger than they are, and I have subdued them rather easily with a sharp knife, hot butter, and a bit of time.

Actually, quite a bit of time. Since their flavor is mild, especially compared to Morels or Shiitakes, these fungi respond best to a slow, low, buttery sizzle in a heavy skillet, eventually yielding some lovely caramel sides and edges, along with sweetened flavor. Just before munching, I add a light sprinkle of large crystal salt like the Celtic gray available in bulk at Good Foods Market. Sweet-earthy-browned butter- salty-chewy-crunchy -- I eat the mushrooms just like that. They could also add mild flavor to soups, pasta, sauces, and stews.

These mushrooms grow in the Daniel Boone National Forest near Salt Lick, Kentucky, in Bath County. The growers, Sheltowee Farm Gourmet Mushrooms, began their business in 2002. The Farm grows oyster and organic shiitake mushrooms year-round. And be amazed at the array of oyster mushroom colors--well beyond yellow and "pink."

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The world is coming to visit central Kentucky this year for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. To help our visitors know more about Kentucky's food and food ways, Savoring Kentucky is rolling out 116 Savory Kentucky Bites, one for each of the 100 days before WEG begins, and 16 for the days during WEG, September 25 - October 10. Today's Savory Bite is number 44.