by Holly Fann
One of the best aspects of going to a local farmers' market is that you will have access to produce and specialty vendors who provide to local restaurants as well. At the Maplewood and Tower Grove markets, you will find one of the top organic-mushroom purveyors in the Midwest, Ozark Forest Mushroom Company. For more than twenty years, Nicola Macpherson has cultivated and foraged shiitakes, oysters, pom poms and morels on her 18,000-shiitake-log farm. Located in the Ozarks' Big Springs region, this is as close to the Shire as you'll find in Missouri.
This past week Macpherson and her son, Henry, sold gorgeous cultivated oysters, dried morels, fresh shiitakes and -- a special spring treat -- fresh bamboo shoots.
Don't know what you want to buy or how to prepare these lovely, albeit seemingly delicate creatures? Advises Henry: "Buy what looks good to you and store them in a paper bag in the fridge. Season them with what you know you will like, starting simply -- and don't overcook them."
On June 8 at Schlafly Bottleworks, Nicola Macpherson will be the guest speaker at the ongoing Slow Food series, SLOWesdnesday. She'll talk about her farm and her mushrooms, and there will be a meal and tasting utilizing her products as well. Reservations are required.