Wild Food Wednesday: Oyster Mushrooms

Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the U.S. and that diversity doesn’t stop at the market! Our woods are alive with tasty and nutritious food if you know where to look. In our Wild Food Wednesdays we’ll tip you off to seasonal goodies that you can find around TC and give you a recipe so you can enjoy the meal as much as the hike to find it!

Here’s a great guide to safe harvesting of mushrooms at LifeHacker – better safe than sorry!

Oyster Mushroom

Oysters mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus complex) are an edible and easy to find mushroom that’s in the woods around Traverse City right now! The Michigan Mushroom Hunter’s Club has great information on harvesting oyster mushrooms – here’s a taste:

The delicious oysters can be found in many environments as they are a prime wood recycler. Oysters can be found on dead and dying trees especially hardwoods like poplars (a.k.a. aspen), cottonwoods, elms, box elders, etc. though they also can occur on conifers.

The gills of the oysters are white, branched fanning out toward the cap edge and are very decurrent (running down the stalk). Oysters tend to grow in dense clusters of caps, crowded and overlapping. It is not unusual to find oyster in such quantity that a mushroom hunter ends up measuring her find in pounds. Each cap may resemble an oyster shell or fan but they grow in many shapes. The edges of the caps are often curved down and are fluted. They are smooth, and colored from off-white, to buff brown, to deep bluish grey, to gray brown. The caps range from an inch across to 6 inches though some caps as wide as 12” are not uncommon. The flesh is white, juicy and quite dense. Stalks if present are thick, become woody with age and have gills all the way to their attachment with the tree.

Read on for much more including harvesting tips (we always bring paring knives and baskets). Also check out Tom Volk’s page on Oyster mushrooms for more identification information. If you want to go a little deeper (and maybe live a little longer) check out mushroom evangelist Paul Stamets compilation of apparent health benefits of oyster mushrooms including cholesterol reduction and immune system boosting.

Wondering what to do once you’ve got some? Read on for a great recipe and share your own ideas in the comments or on the eatdrinkTC Facebook.

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Instagram of the Day: Cook’s House Beer Dinner

Via The Cooks’ House Instagram:

Beer tasting with Fred from new holland brewery…….. 5 course beer dinner at the cooks house next Tuesday October 22 at 7 pm…..#newholland #beerdinners#cookshouse #beer

Click through to their Instagram for more pics including a shot of Fred & Eric at Second Spring Farm – Event details on the eatdrinkTC Calendar!

New Holland beer dinner at cook's house

All-star lineup for the Pigstock TC Dinner

Dessert by Chef David

The annual Pigstock TC Dinner takes place on Wednesday, October 23 at 6 PM at the Hagerty Center. The evening features dishes prepared by some of our leading chefs that feature different parts of the Mangalitsa pig. This seven-course, wine-paired dinner showcases some of our best local talent all in one room and is a fundraiser for Taste the Local Difference.

Featured Chefs

“It’s all fun. This is an opportunity for us to catch up after a busy summer season and have some fun with the local Mangalitsa pigs that we’ve been feeding all year long with our compost,” Paul Olson says. “My favorite part is tasting what our talented chefs do each year with the different parts of the animal.” Read more

Introducing eatdrinkTC!

We are excited to welcome you to eatdrinkTC, a new resource designed from the ground up to feature all aspects of Traverse City’s culinary scene using the latest tools. Read on for a guide of what we offer and how you can take advantage of it, and please leave your ideas or questions in the comments! Read more

Farm Market Gallery: October 5, 2013

Here are photos from today’s Sara Hardy Farm Market – click them for a larger view. 3 more weeks left outdoors!

Food Truck Dinner Series kicks off at Little Fleet

The Little Fleet will be holding the first dinner in their new Food Truck Dinner Series on October 15th at 7:30 PM with Roaming Harvest. Roaming Harvest features food in their truck that is grown, raised or made by local businesses and sustainable farms.

Tickets are $45 per person and include 4 courses and 4 drinks. Seats are limited so reserve your tickets ASAP by either emailing thelittlefleet@gmail.com or signing up at the bar!

Food Truck Dinner Series

Program brings fresh produce to TC schools

File this news from the Michigan Land Use Institute under “Building the Next Generation of Foodies”: 

The program, 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms, is starting this fall at Glen Lake Community Schools and the elementary schools of Traverse City Area Public Schools and Suttons Bay Public Schools. The 10 Cent Fund will provide nearly $29,000 for healthy, locally grown produce served to school children in the three districts for one school year—three times a week in fall, once a week in winter, and twice a week in spring.

The districts are matching this 10 cent reimbursement with their own 10 cents from existing school lunch dollars, for a total of nearly $58,000 of produce for students and for the local food economy.

Cherry Republic, of Glen Arbor and Traverse City, made the fall launch possible with a grant of nearly $28,000.

“It’s the biggest donation Cherry Republic has ever made to support local agriculture, and we did it because of the added bonus of getting healthy food in front of our region’s children,” said owner Bob Sutherland. “This is exactly the type of project that I know my customers would be thrilled to support. Our staff is excited too. Many of us have kids at Glen Lake, and we’re talking about going up and joining our kids for a healthy local lunch at the cafeteria once a month.”

In addition to Cherry Republic’s donation, nearly $10,000 has been raised so far through Cherry Capital Foods, Oryana Natural Foods Market, Firefly Restaurant, Epicure Catering, individuals and the Traverse City-based Utopia Foundation.

Read on for much more at MLUI’s Food & Farming news.

Food Trucks roll into Mawby

In September & October, the L Mawby/M Lawrence/Big Little tasting rooms will welcome a couple of the leaders on the Michigan food truck scene to their wineries. The Purple Carrot Truck, Michigan’s first farm to truck food stand, work directly with local farmers to bring the freshest, local ingredients to their truck. As the good folks at The Purple Carrot say, ” food is only as good as the ingredients you start with.”  Roaming Harvest was TC’s first food truck and they seek & deliver delicious, local, and seasonal food from Traverse City area farms.

Here’s the dates – come out and enjoy the taste of fresh & local on your plate and in your glass!

  • Saturday, September 7: Purple Carrot Food Truck
  • Saturday, September 14: Roaming Harvest
  • Saturday, October 5: Roaming Harvest
  • Saturday, October 26: Purple Carrot Food Truck

Here’s the map on Foursquare.

photo via Purple Carrot Food Truck Facebook

Harbor 22 receives Wine Spectator Award of Excellence!

MyNorth reports that Harbor 22 has received a major award from Wine Spectator for their wine list:

Harbor 22 Bar and Grill of Traverse City has been named by Wine Spectator magazine as a recipient of its 2013 Award of Excellence. Located on the shore of West Grand Traverse Bay, Harbor 22 features an extensive wine list with over 133 selections. Along with a wide selection of California wines, Harbor 22 features many varieties from local vineyards. “We are especially proud of the Wine Spectator award since this marks our first full year of business”, said Karen Simpson. The Simpson family, Ian and Karen and Ian and Veronika, purchased the former Scott’s Harbor Grill in 2012 and have extensively remodeled and redecorated the entire restaurant as well as adding a new bar on the outdoor deck overlooking Harbor West Marina and the Bay.

Congrats to Karen and the crew at Harbor 22 and check out the award-winning wine list right here!

U-turn on Food Trucks

Beth Milligan has a feature in today’s Ticker about a restaurant owner who has had their thinking on food trucks shift 180 degrees. From Brick-and-Mortar to Whitefish on Wheels begins:

As a restaurant owner, Karen Simpson originally was concerned about the sudden arrival of food trucks around Traverse City in June. Today she’s the proud owner of one, with the launch of “Harbor on the Side” this past weekend.

What changed her mind, and exactly what’s involved for a restauranteur to add wheels to their existing brick-and-mortar eatery?

Simpson owns Harbor 22 in Traverse City, which opened in 2012 in the former Scott’s Harbor Grill building on M-22. Early this summer, when the City Commission relaxed an ordinance, food trucks began popping up in increasing numbers downtown.

Simpson and others were concerned about the way food trucks would be regulated and if they’d have to play on a level playing field with restaurants. She soon became intrigued by the potential they offered – not only to expand into catering (a goal of Simpson’s) but to extend the Harbor 22 brand beyond the restaurant’s four walls.

“We first got the idea to do this because of the catering business,” Simpson explains. “But in the process, we realized that having a truck would allow us to have a presence at events and festivals and downtown. We plan on 50-60 percent of our business coming from catering, with the rest coming from (food truck) sales.”

Read on at the Ticker and click here for Harbor 22’s food truck.