So, what is a mycologist? A mycologist studies that intriguing fungi that livens up a meal either as an appetizer filled with a savory stuffing; or bathed in a tasty herb-infused olive oil, garlic, and vinegar marinade; simply sautéed and served alone; or as an added ingredient to flavor just about any dish. Yes, we’re talking mushrooms!
Dave Wichland, whose accrued knowledge of mushrooms – primarily learned from renowned mushroom expert, Paul Staments, and Dave’s own years of research and hands-on experimentation with growing – has earned him his reputation as a local mushroom specialist. From his small Wichland Woods location, he puts this knowledge to work offering customers fresh and dried mushrooms, plus educating them by means of his own mycological services.
Through regional and local workshops, he discusses the health benefits of mushrooms and provides the how-to of growing your own by incorporating a “mycological-friendly landscape” with various planting mediums right in your back yard. “I have over twelve mushroom varieties available to incorporate into backyard gardens,” Dave says. “There is the Shitake, Hen of the Woods, Brandy Wine Cap, Lion’s Mane, and Elm Oyster- those and a few more.”
Of his fresh and dried mushrooms, he says, “People really get very excited, because I offer mushrooms to them that they’ve never tried or very rarely get. Generally the mushrooms I offer, the gourmet kind, I offer at prices people rarely get.”
Per pound, what Dave describes as his fresher, better-quality mushrooms, often cost less than in the larger stores. “I understand how to preserve and package mushrooms to last,” he adds, “and I have biodegradable packing, too, for as less of an impact as possible.”
Dave does not provide cultures for all the mushrooms he sells. He also gathers and sells wild mushrooms, and is willing to pay those who find wild mushrooms for him.
Contact Wichland Woods for more information on workshop schedules and mail order sales – and look for Wichland Woods to begin selling at the Keene Farmers’ Market. Ask about available mushrooms and make arrangements to pick some up to incorporate into your own menu.