Kopp's Crops is a family-run business specializing in maple syrup, honey and fresh vegetables. We are located 45 miles north of Minneapolis in Bradford Township on our 65 acre farm.

*Now Selling at the Cambridge-Isanti Farmers Market!*

Local Orders: For pickup in Isanti, Cambridge, Brooklyn Park or Arden Hills, please email koppscrops@gmail.com or call 763-772-7057 to place your order and arrange payment & pickup. Available products are listed in the shopping cart below.

Outside the Twin Cities: Please use the online shopping cart below. USPS shipping charges will be calculated at checkout.

For questions, please email us at koppscrops@gmail.com


Friday, June 24, 2011

Rare Finds – The Fungus Among Us

You know that famous saying:  April showers bring May Morel mushrooms (flowers, mushrooms… whatever).  The meaty texture & succulent flavor of Morels make them a favorite of mushroom aficionados, and Jason has a few top-secret hunting grounds around the county where he searches for the little brain-shaped delicacies.  But last spring we were surprised and delighted to find a single Morel mushroom growing in the bark chips in our landscaping, of all places.  After we washed off that Morel and the others he’d found, we “planted” some more by pouring the water (and hopefully some spores) into the same spot of the landscaping where the soil appears to be conducive to mushroom growth.  It worked… this year we picked a dozen Morels there! 
 This week we got another pleasant fungus surprise – a whole forest plot of Polyporus Umbellatus mushrooms (photo at left), just a dozen yards from our back door.  We first thought they were the more common Hen of the Woods that we’ve found and enjoyed in past years.  But these lacy mushrooms, sometimes referred to as Zhuling, are exceedingly rare and highly sought after in Chinese medicine.  They are reputed to have anti-tumor, antioxidant, anti-viral and anti-protozoal  effects, enhance the immune system, treat urological disorders and chlamydia, and grow hair.   Now you know how Papa Smurf got that luxurious beard!

To preserve the mushroom for future recipes (or anti-something-or-another treatment), we cut them up and put them in the dehydrator for about five hours, and now keep them in airtight glass jars to keep them nice & dry.  Our philosophy is that you can never play it too with wild mushrooms – even though Jason knows how to recognize the edible vs. inedible mushrooms, we still double-check online whenever we find a new variety to make sure there are no dangerous “look-alike” impostors lurking about, ready to slip us a mushroom mickey.  We also always cook them before eating them – if nothing else, it makes them easier to digest.  And of course, the ultimate test:  Jason is the official mushroom toxicity tester.   For each new variety we find, he eats some first.  If by the next day he’s not violently ill, we deem them safe for the rest of the family.  Tomorrow is testing day for the Zhulings…wish him luck!