Takoma Mushrooms owner Joe Valenti thinks foraged produce is the next big thing. A newcomer to the D.C. farmers market scene, he cultivates ’shrooms out of a greenhouse in Takoma Park and forages for wild varieties in the Catoctin Mountains in Maryland. Valenti brought only grey and golden oyster mushrooms on a recent evening at the Brookland market (Tuesdays, 4–7 p.m.) but said to look for shiitake mushrooms at his stand in the future. Either way, even the most basic Takoma mushrooms will offer a treat for palates used to common grocery-store varieties.
How to Buy: Golden Oysters ($6 a pint) are available year-round. Takoma Mushrooms sets up at the 14th & U, Palisades, and Brookland markets. Look for firm, dry mushrooms without signs of dampness or rot. Valenti says customers should contact him if there’s a particular variety they’re looking to purchase.
How to Store: Refrigerate in a single layer, covered by a paper towel. Use the goldens within 24 hours of purchase.
How to Cook: The degree of cooking will determine the goldens’ flavor. A light sauté will leave them with a distinct seafood flavor, while a more thorough browning will result in a rich, nutty cashew taste. Try tossing with olive oil and roasting in a 475-degree oven for 4 to 5 minutes. I browned the mushrooms to cashew level and served them as a side atop mixed greens.
Photo by Phoebe Connelly