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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Chanterelles Flourish In Indiana’s Hot, Rainy Summer

This week, we re-air an interview with former Bloomington Community Farmers' Market Mushroom Inspector Marti Crouch. Then mushroom recipes with Chef Jeff Finch.

  • Marti Crouch inspecting chanterelles

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    Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

    Marti Crouch must approve every single wild mushroom before they can be sold at the Bloomington Community Farmers' Market.

  • Marti Crouch inspecting chanterelles

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    Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

    She looks at the gills as a way to identify chanterelles from their look-alikes.

  • Marti Crouch with a vendor selling chanterelles

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    Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

    She starts her inspections of vendors' wild mushrooms one hour before the Bloomington Community Farmers' Market opens to customers.

  • Marti Crouch walking around farmers' market

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    Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

    Crouch has been the mushroom inspector at the Bloomington Community Farmers' Market for twenty years.

  • Marti Crouch inspecting chanterelles

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    Photo: Annie Corrigan

    Crouch retired as Mushroom Inspector after last season.

It’s chanterelle day at Earth Eats.

We revisit a conversation we had with Chef Jeff Finch last year. He demonstrates a basic chanterelle preparation with salt and butter — and it’s out of this world. Then he takes it to the next level with a frittata.

Have you seen chanterelles for sale at your farmers’ market yet? The season is short, so get ‘em while you can. Before vendors can sell any wild mushrooms at the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market, they have to be checked and approved by Marti Crouch. She’s served as the Mushroom Inspector at the market for twenty year before retiring at the end of last season and training Sean Breeden-Ost to take her place. She pulls on a pair of blue gloves and starts roaming the market one hour before customers arrive. Chanterelles come up in mid-to-late July, but it all depends on the weather. Crouch says they like it hot and humid.

“I have to confirm that every single one of the individual mushrooms is a chanterelle and not another species of mushroom,” she says.

Breeden-Ost also sells chanterelles as a vendor. He’s standing behind his table with his son Glen. They have six pounds of chanterelles in a couple paper grocery sacks. When I asked Sean what it’s like to find a big batch of chanterelles growing in the woods, he let out and low growl. “It’s like Christmas. It is. It’s exciting and… You kind of lose track of time,” he says.

  • adam sweet, king dough

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    Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

    Adam Sweet, cofounder of King Dough Pizza

  • making pizza

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    Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

    The Fancy Dad starts with some Béchamel sauce and house-made mozzarella.

  • wood-fired oven

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    Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

    Sweet cooks the pizza in King Dough's wood-fired oven for just a couple minutes. When char develops on the crust, he knows it's done.

  • fancy dad pizza

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    Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

    The Fancy Dad includes heirloom tomatoes and chanterelles, both provided by farmer/forager Salem Willard.

Some foragers develop relationships with area chefs to sell directly to restaurants. Salem Willard operates runs Bread & Roses Gardens and sells both his cultivated crops and his wild foragables to King Dough Pizza. “One day I was just walking on the road and I saw some of the orange mushrooms there on the hillside and I realized it’s chanterelle season,” he says.

Willard called Chef Adam Sweet to ask if he wanted in on the chanterelles.

“Whenever he called up, I was was just like immediately the wheels started turning,” says Sweet. “Like, what can we do with this?”

The result was a pizza called The Fancy Dad — Béchamel sauce, mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, red onions, par-cooked chanterelles, sea salt and a dash of olive oil.

Stories On This Episode

Rural Students Head Online When Schools Don’t Offer Physics

Grandview R-II School district

One rural school district in Missouri offers credit for online classes in an effort to give its students the educational opportunities it can’t afford.

Pasta With Chanterelles And Sugar Snap Peas

finch's chanterelle pasta

Chef Jeff Finch adds a couple special ingredients to make this pasta dish extraordinary -- corn stock and roasted heirloom tomato puree.

Recipe: Finch’s Chanterelle Frittata

frittata

Brunchers won't have many more chances to enjoy Jeff Finch's chanterelle frittata. It's available only as long as foragers provide him with fresh mushrooms.

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

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