Friday, December 14, 2018 GrowFood Newsletter · News

A Word from the Warehouse – November 2018

by Andy Hollis

We hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving! The holiday is our favorite and busiest of the year and a great time to express gratitude for South Carolina's producers. For several weeks, we raced around and spread the love (a.k.a. local vegetables!) from our partner farmers. And in this season of thanks, we also celebrated fabulous fungi and want to share a brief story with you as you savor your leftovers.

It was August 2011, and the warehouse wasn't open yet. I was working at the Coastal Conservation League's office on East Bay Street when I got a call from a forager asking if GrowFood Carolina was going to sell chanterelles. "Of course!" I responded quickly, and asked him questions about the Lowcountry season, pricing and how we could help.

After hanging up, my gut told me to do more research–mushrooms can be tricky in the produce world. Oftentimes, they require higher insurance coverage and stricter food safety protocols. So, I foraged and found that "wild" products could not be served to retail customers in South Carolina.

I wasn't happy with that conclusion. Chanterelles are safe, delicious, nutritious gifts from the earth–and we wanted chefs and the Charleston community to have access to them. So, Lisa Turansky and I put our heads together and contacted Tradd Cotter, owner of Mushroom Mountain in Easley, South Carolina and one of the most well respected mycologists in the country.

Lucky for us, Tradd was psyched to help. He knew of similar programs around the country that we could replicate and adapt for the Southeast. We invited Clemson and DHEC to the table and together outlined the Wild Mushroom Food Safety Certification and how regulations could be altered to accommodate wild mushrooms foraged by certified mushroom identifiers.

In July 2014, the first class of foragers was certified and GrowFood received its first shipment of beautiful gold chanterelles. Since then, North Carolina and Georgia have adopted similar programs, and we expect Virginia and Florida to follow suit soon. Today, from our warehouse on Morrison Drive, we partner with a diverse group of foragers, including hunters, naturalists and police officers, as well as mushroom farmers like Rebecca Farms and City Roots, to bring our favorite fungi to the market. Every fall, at the annual Mushroom Gathering, we celebrate this awesome outcome and the people who made it possible. We hope to see you there next year!

Featured Story

A side gig inspires a Charleston police officer to go foraging for mushrooms

If you've attended a Mushroom Gathering in the past, then chances are you've met Brian Ambrose. A captain in the Charleston Police Department, Officer Ambrose often works security for our events at the warehouse, which is where he first learned about mushroom foraging. Read more about his story and successful side gig in the Post and Courier.

Read Full Article

Featured Recipe

Goomba Burger

Interested in a burger that tastes better and is better for the planet? This month, we're sharing a recipe for the Goomba Burger by Bud Taylor of The Bistro at Topsail in Surf City, North Carolina. The burger is a 2017 winner of the James Beard Foundation's Blended Burger Project and features grass-fed Mills Family Farm beef, wild mushroom confit, lemongrass aioli and shiitake "bacon."

The Blended Burger Project is an annual contest that challenges chefs to craft burgers that perfectly combine ground meat and chopped mushrooms–in an effort to drive and inspire more sustainable eating without sacrificing flavor.

Get the Recipe

Post of the Month
Quote of the Month

"Take a trip to the forest and experience the greatness of getting on your knees and picking your own food and going home … and eating it"

-Danish chef René Redzepi, co-owner of the two-Michelin star restaurant Noma


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