Ingredients can make or break a meal. Here are our favorites from the West's best farms.
"Saying 'I don't like mushrooms' is like saying 'I don't like vegetables.' There's a mushroom for everybody," says Ian Garrone, whose family owns Far West Fungi, which grows about 9 varieties at any given time. When you buy a Far West mushroom, it's perfect; smooth, unbruised, frim, smelling of forest and loam. It radiates freshness. That's because the Garrones harvest right before they sell—and also because they've spent 25 years perfecting the tricky art of mushroom cultivation.
Their farm, on the coast 95 miles south of San Francisco, has the exact conditions that mushrooms love: cool, moist, and overcast. And the Garrones keep it very, very clean, especially in the incubation rooms; no invasive molds stand a chance. So their meaty shiitakes, delicate tree oysters, and aromatic maitakes are as good as it gets.
From $6/lb.; farwestfungi.com; visit website to order and to find Far West Fungi's farmers' market locations; or stop by the shop in San Francisco's Ferry Building.