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Why Are We Celebrating Mushrooms?
Because they are awesome!
And…Because it used to be illegal to sell mushrooms foraged in the state of South Carolina. But in 2014, the Coastal Conservation League worked with Tradd Cotter, a mycologist who studies fungi, and the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control to develop a statewide certification program, leading to the state’s first Wild Mushroom Safety Certification.
This led other states to embrace the certification program as well. Now people can forage mushrooms and sell what they gather.
Trainings are held by Tradd Cotter at Mushroom Mountain in Easley, SC and people who earn the certification can legally forage and sell mushrooms in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, and Rhode Island.
Nearly 1,000 people have been certified as foragers since 2014. And that’s good news for the environment. Responsibly foraged mushrooms are a sustainable product as more grow back than are picked. And of course, they are delicious.
The Usual Shindig
GrowFood Carolina, a program of the Coastal Conservation League, held their first Mushroom Gathering in 2014 to celebrate the legalization of the sale of foraged mushrooms. Hundreds of people gathered at our warehouse at 990 Morrison to learn about mushrooms and to enjoy mushroom-inspired delicacies. Subsequent Mushroom Gatherings were held annually, drawing larger and larger crowds.
This Year’s Event
GrowFood invites you to celebrate the mushroom! Stop by our warehouse on October 28 to pick up special mushroom-themed meals created by some of Charleston’s renowned chefs.
Part of the proceeds from tonight’s event are going to Southern Restaurants for Racial Justice.
Marinated Mushroom Salad
To Serve: Stir well. Serve either cold or at room temperature.
Chef BJ Dennis, a personal chef & caterer: Born and raised in Charleston, SC, personal chef and caterer Benjamin “BJ” Dennis infuses the flavors and culture of the Lowcountry into his Gullah Geechee cuisine, bringing a new taste to the ever expanding culinary palate of the South. What differentiates Chef BJ’s food from his contemporaries in “southern” cooking is the homage he pays to the Gullah Geechee culture, brought to the Americas by West Africans, and disseminated along the West Indies and the American South. Dennis infuses the techniques of his ancestors, learned from four years of study in St. Thomas, as well as the lessons of his grandparents about eating from the land, to create fresh interpretations of local dishes focusing on in-season, locally sourced vegetables and seafood. Recent trips to Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Barbados, Dominica, U.S. Virgin Islands, Angola, Senegal and Benin has brought his work full circle, connecting the people and cultures of the African diaspora through food.
King Trumpet Chili Verde
To Reheat: Remove lid from container. In the large compartment you will find two ramekins, 1 packet of tortillas, and a small radish and cilantro salad. Remove everything from the large compartment and place on the side. Loosely place cover back on container, place in the microwave, and heat at full power for 1 minute and 50 seconds. Meanwhile, heat up a nonstick pan and gently toast a flour tortilla on both sides until warm and toasty. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Reserve these on the side of your serving plate.
To Serve: add the warm rice and top this off with the Chile verde. Sprinkle the queso fresco over the chile and garnish with the cilantro, radish, and pickled onions. Tear pieces of your tortilla off and fold up your perfect bite. Enjoy!
Chef James London, from Chubby Fish: James London was born in Charleston and got his start in the kitchen washing dishes at age 14. He has been in the kitchen ever since and upon graduating from the College of Charleston he headed up to New York City followed by San Francisco before returning home to open up Chubby Fish. The menu at Chubby Fish is constantly changing and reflects the best of the local fishermen and farmers. James is a huge fan of GrowFood Carolina and is super pumped to be participating in this year’s event.
Apple Jax Handpie with Caramel Sauce
To Reheat: The handpies are very good room temperature, but if you prefer it warm. Heat slowly 325 for 6-8 mins.
Chef Tyson Detzler & Chef Vivian Howard, from Handy & Hot: Vivian Howard is an award-winning cookbook author, tv personality, chef and restaurateur. Her first cookbook, Deep Run Roots: Stories & Recipes from My Corner of the South (2016), is a New York Times bestseller and was named “Cookbook of the Year” by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She created and stars in public television shows Somewhere South and A Chef’s Life, for which she has won Peabody, Emmy and James Beard awards. Vivian runs the restaurants Chef & the Farmer in Kinston, NC; Benny’s Big Time in Wilmington, NC; Handy & Hot and Lenoir (opening December 2020) in Charleston, SC. In October 2020, Vivian released her second cookbook, This Will Make It Taste Good. Vivian grew up eating Apple Jax from B&S Cafe in Deep Run, which she chronicles in Deep Run Roots. On her show, A Chef’s Life, Vivian tracks down now-closed B&S Cafe owner, Claire Merrell Barwick, and learns how to make applejacks her way—with dried apples.
Microwave: Remove the rice from the container and place in a microwave safe bowl. Add 2 tbsp water to rice, cover and microwave for 1.5 minutes or until hot. Place Korma in microwave for 2 minutes, stir halfway through. Or heat until piping hot. Add a little water to loosen to sauce consistency if it seems too thick.
Stove top: Korma: place in a pot with 1/2 cup of water and heat gently stirring so it doesn’t stick. Rice: Remove the rice from the container and place in a microwave safe bowl. Add 2 tbsp water to rice, cover and microwave for 1.5 minutes or until hot.
To Serve: Lay rice down in a bowl or plate and spoon Korma over top. Garnish with fresh chilies, cilantro and lime to your taste. Start with some and add as you eat to see what you like.
Chef Ty Kotz, from Interactive Home Cooking: Although Indian food is only part of my cooking repertoire, it is by far my favorite and I love when clients request it from me. I had the honor to work with Chef Floyd Cardoz for 10 years of my career. Sadly I lost my best friend and mentor to Covid, so this is for him. He was the most extraordinary man I have ever met and absolutely the most gifted Chef. His ability to translate flavor was second to none and the cuisine he established here in America was way ahead of its time. Anyone that ever knew him would say the same and have. If you are interested in this type of food or any other cuisine using truly local ingredients, let’s arrange a dinner in your home.
Mushroom Pot Pie with Seasonal Vegetables
To Reheat: Bake on a sheet tray uncovered, at 350F for 20 minutes.
Chef Mike Lata, from FIG Restaurant: A native New Englander, Mike started his culinary career at an early age, working in kitchens in Boston, New Orleans, Atlanta and France before landing in Charleston in 1998. Mike is a hands-on, self-taught chef who continues to delight making the most basic things delicious, creating food that is bright, uncomplicated and understated. His longstanding and outspoken commitment to support local farmers, fishermen and purveyors has cemented his position as a notable champion for Charleston’s flourishing culinary renaissance. Mike is an active member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and co-founder of the Charleston Slow Food convivium.
Chef Jason Stanhope, from FIG Restaurant: While on a vacation to Charleston, Jason Stanhope fell for the city and its rich epicurean history, and decided to move East and join the team at Mike Lata’s acclaimed FIG, where he has worked his way through the kitchen, starting as chef-tournant to his current position of executive chef, which earned him the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southeast in 2015. Stanhope also upholds FIG’s philosophy of serving cuisine that is relevant, approachable, sensible, technically driven, and seasonally inspired.
Apple Upside Down Cake
To Reheat: The cakes can be enjoyed at room temperature, and are best reheated just a bit at 300F for 10-12 minutes. Top with the whipped creme fraiche.
Chef Cynthia Wong, from Life Raft Treats: In 2018, Cynthia founded Life Raft Treats, an artisan company dedicated to sparking joy and surprise through passionately crafted ice cream treats and sweets. She and her recipes have been featured such publications as Garden & Gun, Food & Wine, and Bon Appetit. Cynthia is a 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef. Cynthia loves lard, dioramas and sporting clays.
About GrowFood Carolina
GrowFood Carolina is South Carolina’s first local food hub and is a program of the Coastal Conservation League. We provide local farmers with the sales, marketing, logistics, warehousing, and distribution functions they need and that previously have been available only to large-scale industrial farms. We sell fresh, local produce to restaurants and grocery stores in many of our coastal cities. We also sell to many local schools, colleges, universities, and corporate cafeterias. We work with more than 100 farmers and have returned more than $8 million back to support their farms and farm workers since we began in 2011. Our goal is to provide revenue to farmers so they can stay on their land, protecting rural landscapes and improving the quality of life across the coastal plain.
Since the Pandemic
As restaurant sales quickly plummeted, the GrowFood team developed two new lines of business, including:
• Farmers to Food Boxes: Since its inception, GrowFoodCarolina has been searching for ways to serve food deserts and communities in need, while supporting local farmers and agriculture. The coronavirus pandemic has provided a window of opportunity to adapt GrowFood’s business model to do just that—provide boxes of fresh, local produce to families experiencing challenging times. GrowFood Carolina is uniquely positioned and preparedto continue to serve people in need—work we feel isnecessary to sustain resilient coastal communities.With federal funding and private donor support, we havekept our farmers profitable while helping South Carolinafamilies who are hungry for fresh produce.Through partnerships with nonprofits Enough Pie,Humanities Foundation, and the Lowcountry Food Bank,more than 75,000 pounds of produce have beendonated to families in need to date.
Learn how to help by visiting coastalconservationleague.org/soil-to-sustenance/
• Produce Boxes: Prior to the pandemic, our sales were only wholesale—to institutions and restaurants. Now, we’re offering boxes of produce for sale to local families one day each week. More than 2,000 boxes of fresh, SC-grown fruits and vegetables have been purchased since April.
Due to the nature of this event, we are unable to accommodate special requests or allergies. If you have questions, please contact Katie Kuhn, at (803) 760-2516.