Harvest of the Month-Mushrooms

Posted by on Mar 8, 2019 | 0 comments

Harvest of the Month-Mushrooms

Dr. Korab tasting the mushrooms at Burnley-Moran Elementary

This sunny spring day set as a perfect backdrop to our March Harvest of the Month.  As you may imagine—February and March often require some imagination and creativity when highlighting local produce that’s grown at a scale that we can distribute across the city schools. This month we ventured into the world of fungus by highlighting MUSHROOMS. Schuyler Greens and Sharondale Farms split the order of 80 pounds of Oyster Mushrooms. With the assistance of first year medical students at UVA for a 6th time this school year—we were able to prepare the harvest to be roasted with lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper this morning.

Now, we were definitely aware that this month could be a hard sell to students. I was anxious to hear how it went from volunteers as lunches started to end. Many students were excited to try the crop! And students were as adventurous as we had hoped. At Walker—volunteers were given 200 plates for tastings. It quickly became apparent that the volunteers had to start ripping the plates in half the ensure that they had enough tastings to get through the last lunch. While some were happy with one tasting o a polite pass on the tasting, many students came back for seconds.

As I began collecting reactions of students from volunteers it became clear that  in the context of mushroom tasting, as students got older, they were more adventurous with tasting the foods. There seemed to be a difference between kindergarten and first to second and third to fifth and sixth.

 

This unique crop is not one that we traditionally have had in our school gardens. Recently, though, Andy, our Garden Coordinator at Burnley-Moran did a lesson with students where they inoculated a log by hammering numerous mycelium-covered pegs into the log and found a warm,

wet place to put it to wait for the mushrooms to grow. Now, they are waiting the 9 months it takes for the mushrooms to fruit and will hopefully return next year to see that the log has sprouted mushrooms.

Although consumption of mushrooms hasn’t been common in our gardens—talks about them have been. We often use mushrooms as an example of a decomposer—helping to break down food and garden waste and turn back into a rich, fertile soil. As we sift our compost or flip over our mulch pile, it is common to find mushroom parts creeping around and helping to break down that material.

Check out our some quotes our volunteers got today:

“They’re so good!” -Walker student

“Amazing. Taste like chicken with a twist.” -Liza Ann, 3rd grade

“I thought they were great!” Emmett, 3rd grade