If you’ve been to Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market lately, you’ve likely been enchanted by a brimming display of unique looking mushrooms. Pale with flower-like caps and delicate gills, these delicious morsels are called oyster mushrooms and they are the pièce de résistance of Gunogan Fungus.
Gunogan Fungus specializes in producing medicinal and gourmet mushrooms, grown locally and with love by market newcomer Logan Hart.
Hart’s passion for mushroom cultivation happened organically. Having recently transitioned out of the U.S. Army, Hart found himself attracted to the slower pace and clean air of the Olympic Peninsula.
“I became a happier person when I got up here,” Hart said. “I moved completely off-grid. That’s when I started to see how many types of mushrooms grew up here and were available to forage.
“Eventually, I wanted to grow them myself.”
Hart said he was completely captivated, falling in love with a process that took plenty of patience.
“It requires a lot of problem-solving, which I like,” he said. “Everyone has to figure out how to do it their own way. Every mushroom grower has their unique problems to solve depending on their place in the world.”
Energized by the multitudes of potential mushroom growing techniques, Hart prioritizes exploring new and distinct methods.
“I like to experiment,” he said. “For example, there’s this Japanese folklore that says mushrooms multiply during a thunderstorm. So they did a study where they ran high voltage electricity through some growing mushrooms. The idea is that the electricity shocks the mushrooms and puts them into survival mode, which prompts them to reproduce more quickly. I had to try that!”
Hart crafted a system for running his own high voltage electricity through a portion of his mushrooms. Expecting a spectacle akin to a lightning storm, Hart said he was admittedly a bit disappointed by the initial process.
“It was actually anti-climactic when I did it the first time,” he said, laughing. “Not a lot of zapping or buzzing, just some clicking.”
The current made its way through the fungi, however, and sure enough, Hart reported a higher yield from the mushrooms exposed to the electricity.
When guests visit Gunogan Fungus at the market they’ll find a variety of oyster mushrooms for purchase. Oyster mushrooms are versatile and sweet, which makes them a delicious, yet understated flavoring agent in many dishes.
“The flavors are mild and absorb flavor; they make a great substitution for seafood,” Hart said.
Hart recommends dry sautéing first in a hot pan to remove the moisture, which he says concentrates the mushroom flavor, followed by a fry in butter or oil.
Hart’s favorite dish featuring his mushrooms? Pasta.
“Nothing’s better than mushroom pasta,” he said.
This season marks Gunogan Fungus’ first at Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market, and Hart said he’s having a great time so far.
“I’m having fun selling what I grow to people,” he said. “Everyone is so pleasant, just wanting to get out more during these times.”
Hart finds himself drawn to the market environment as a community hub.
“Each week at the market you connect with so many of the things happening in our own little town,” he says. “If that’s important to you, the market is a great place to find that connection.”
You can find Gunogan Fungus every Saturday, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market located at Sequim Civic Center plaza.
Emma Jane Garcia is Marketing Manager for the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market. See www.sequimmarket.com.