You may have noticed fewer local produce items at the store and fewer vendors at the nearby Sarasota Farmers Market this summer season. During these months, when crops are not as abundant, is a good time to incorporate less common health food items that we may not regularly eat. We recently wrote about the ancient seed amaranth and its many beneficial properties. Another less thought about food is mushrooms and the healthy attributes they offer.

Mushrooms are a low-calorie, nutrient-dense food and provide protein, vitamins, fiber, and calcium. Some research has been done about certain varietals supporting healthy immune systems and they may have anti-cancer properties.

Being a very versatile food item, there are a number of ways to prepare them–sautéed, roasted, stuffed with goat cheese, fresh herbs and baked, add them to kabob skewers, portobellos can be grilled for a vegetarian meat option, and sliced thinly, they make a great salad ingredient.

We are lucky to have a local purveyor, Gulf Coast Mushrooms, supplying a large variety including fresh oyster mushrooms, shiitake, Lion’s Mane, dried reishi, and chaga and they can be found at the Sarasota Farmers Market.