You’ve probably noticed a new item in your Oâ€˜ahu Fresh grocery bag: Mushrooms. And maybe you were wondering where they came from and who grows them. Well then, let us tell you a little bit about Small Kine Farm in Waimanalo.
Small Kine Farm is run by Fung Yang, who also owns/operates Green Glove Recycling (formerly Oahu Community Recycling). While sorting through his clients’ trash, he noticed that they were throwing out more than glass, plastics and paper. They were getting rid of a lot of organic waste. This led Yang to composting and composting eventually led to…mushrooms.
All of his mushrooms grow in compost that goes through a pasteurization process to make sure it is “clean” and to kill off any insects or pest fungi that might have been in the compost. The entire process, from preparing the compost to harvesting the mushrooms, takes several months. That’s the very condensed version of mushroom farming; there is a longer version for those who are really interested.
Yang started growing mushrooms about four years ago, and was recently awarded a grant to study the feasibility of mushroom farming on Oahu. He’s in the very early stages of mushroom farming, but has big plans for the future, plans that will hopefully include expanding his mushroom farm to more than double its size in the next few years.
His latest harvest yielded about 800 pounds of crimini/portabello mushrooms. That sounds like a lot, but he estimates that on Oahu, more than a million tons of mushrooms are imported annually.
In addition to your Oahu Fresh grocery bags, you can find Yang’s mushrooms in dishes being served at Town Restaurant, 12th Ave Grill and the Turtle Bay Resort.
â€¢ Store your mushrooms in a cool, dry place. Before refrigerating them, put them in a paper bag. Plastic bags attract moisture, which can leave your mushrooms mushy.
â€¢ Mushroom stems, which are firmer than the caps, can be sliced lengthwise and grilled or roasted.
â€¢ Cooked mushrooms can be frozen and will keep for several months. Place in a freezer container or bag, excluding as much air as possible (uncooked mushrooms don’t freeze well).