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About Specialty Mushrooms

Learn all about the unique qualities of specialty mushrooms native to Massachusetts.

Shiitake Mushroooms

Shiitake mushrooms are native to Japan, Korea, and China. Shiitake is a Japanese word. The translation of this word is simply a mushroom growing on the shii tree: “take” meaning mushroom and “shii” being a kind of evergreen tree that grows in Japan and Korea.


Shiitakes are the gateway mushroom into the field of specialty mushrooms. They are the second most consumed mushroom in the world, and in the opinion of many, leaps and bounds better than the button mushroom.


Shiitakes have a strong umami flavor and stand out in most culinary dishes. The stems of shiitakes are typically discarded or made into stalk and the caps are cooked and consumed. Shiitakes are great in stir frys, miso soup, or roasted on their own!

Oyster Mushrooms

This incredibly diverse mushroom comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors. It can be an extremely beautiful mushroom coming in grey, blue, yellow, and pink but also has a GREAT taste.


The common name oyster covers a wide range of species which allows it to have such diversity. Several oysters grow wild here in Massachusetts but tend to get bugs in them when growing outside.


This mushroom is sweeter and has a more subtle taste than shiitake. The caps are the most desirable part and the stems should be chopped finely and discarded when they start getting tough. Oyster mushrooms are amazing in omelettes, pasta dishes, and other recipes you can find here.

Lion's Mane Mushrooms

This strangely shaped and delicious mushroom is welcome to the dinner plate of any mushroom lover. With a lobster-like taste this, mushroom is fantastic sautéed with some butter and lemon juice or used for faux crabcakes.

Lion’s mane has cascading spines and can bruise easily, so be sure to get it when it has been handled minimally and travelled a short distance.


Lion’s mane grows in Massachusetts typically on beach trees in the fall. A great find for any forager, this mushroom is fun to experiment with and has growing amounts of research around impacts on the brain and nerve protection growth of the myelin sheath.

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