Health benefits of mushrooms exceeds late night cravings
The health benefits of mushrooms always seem to get a bad rap. It’s as if mushrooms are only known for a late night pizza topping or a late night party. But after taking a closer look—there is much to discover. In fact, the health benefits of mushrooms are overwhelming.
When I first set out to explore the powerful nutrients found in this fungi, I turned to our friends at Hazel Dell Mushrooms. Organic restaurant Fooducopia is proud to partner with Colorado’s Hazel Dell Mushrooms to bring diners the best possible organic mushrooms to their plate.
Hazel Dell Mushrooms was started by Jim Hammond in 1980 in Sana Cruz, CA. The farm originally grew certified organic oyster mushrooms. At that time, the organic production method was chosen because of the demands of the mushroom species grown and due to a strong local organic market.
In 1993, Jim and his wife Toni Hammond sold their northern California operation and started a new farm in Fort Collins, CO. Over the years, they have added cultivation of several additional mushroom species including Shiitake, Crimini, Lions Mane, Royal Trumpet, Maitake, Piopino, and Cinnamon Cap. All of these varieties are grown organically in climate controlled buildings right here on Colorado’s Front Range. The farm is Certified Organic by the Colorado Department of Agriculture and is Food Safety/Good Agricultural Practices certified by the US Department of Agriculture.
“Most mushrooms are generally known to be rich in amino acids so that they can be used as a partial replacement for animal protein,” explains owner Jim Hammond. “In addition they are reputed to contribute ‘Umami’ to food dishes. This is the 5th savory’ flavor characteristic in addition to sweet, sour, salty, and bitter.”
Jared Scherger, farm manager at Hazel Dell Mushrooms, offered some great advice on anything having to do with mushrooms.
Tells us a little bit about the health benefits of the mushrooms you grow at Hazel Dell.
JS: Mushrooms are considered a superfood because they are jam-packed with a variety of beneficial vitamins and minerals. Among the beneficial vitamins found in mushrooms is Vitamin D. In fact mushrooms are one of the only foods, which naturally contain Vitamin D. They are also high in antioxidants and help to promote healthy immune system function.
Hazel Dell is organic. Why is this so important to you?
JS: Here at Hazel Dell we believe that organic farming is overall better for the health of our customers and the planet. As an organic farm we do not use any chemical fertilizers, fungicides or pest control products in our process. This is important because mushrooms are able to easily absorb pesticides and fungicides. We believe we are able to produce a healthier and tastier product through our organic farming methods.
How do you encourage people to put mushrooms more into their daily diet?
JS: Mushrooms have so many different flavors and textures that they lend themselves to a wide variety of culinary dishes. We encourage our customers to be creative when cooking with our mushrooms. Try them as an alternative to meat in any of your favorite dishes. We also sell dried mushrooms and dried mushroom powders which can be incorporated into many dishes or used as a seasoning.
So are you ready to give mushrooms the attention they deserve? Great! Be sure to start with Chef Richard’s mushroom entrees at Fooducopia. They don’t disappoint.
For breakfast I suggest the Wild Mushroom Benedict wild mushrooms, organic tomato, spinach with mini moos goat feta & hollandaise.
For lunch I suggest the: Mushroom Pesto Sandwich organic crimini mushrooms, roasted red peppers, provolone & house-made pesto on Breadworks ciabatta bread.
Who knows. . .you might end up with a new favorite—filled with healthful benefits, no less!
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