Hamakua Mushrooms
36-221 Manowaiopae Homestead RdLaupāhoehoeHawai'i(808) 962-0017Website


Ala Moana Farmers' Market
1450 Ala Moana BoulevardHonoluluOahu(808) 388-9696Website


Mushrooms have long been prized both for its subtle flavor and meaty texture.  We’re so lucky to have two mushroom farms growing an incredible range of mushrooms.  Bob and Janis Stanga of  Hamakua Mushroom on Hawaii Island are cultivating in their state of the art growing facility at least four varieties of mushrooms: Alii Oyter, Grey Oyster, Piopinni, as well as the indigenous Pepeiao.  Small Kine Farm in Waimanalo has started growing portobello and cremini mushrooms.

Each variety of mushroom is so unique we thought they deserved their own listing accompanied by their own Eating Tips.

Prepping Tip

– Mushrooms are so porous that exposure to water can affect flavor almost immediately.  Instead of washing under running water, better to wipe each mushroom with a clean, damp paper towel.

Eating Tips

Oyster – Hamakua Mushroom farm grows a sizeable oyster variety they call The Alii Oyster.  It is a majestically large and fleshy,  smooth skinned, white mushroom with a nutty flavor.  Its firm texture gives it a resilience that plays out economically in an amazing shelf life.  According to Hamakua Mushroom “it has a great range of flavor, depending on the preparation style.  It can be sauteed, grilled, braised, stewed, or broiled.  Unlike many mushrooms, the stem has the same wonderful texture and flavor as the cap – nothing is wasted.”

Cremini – The cremini is a very young portobello mushroom.  It is the size and shape of traditional white button mushrooms and can be used in the same way, however having fresh cremini available now that it is being grown in Hawaii, gives us all a chance to savor the flavor and texture of a fresh mushroom!  Don’t overcook – 7 minutes max.

Gray Oyster – The Gray cluster oyster is light in color, is grown and sold in clusters.  It is mild in flavor, reminiscent of ocean instead of forest. According to the Hamakua Mushroom folks, these mushrooms are “best cooked in a hot, fast method such as sauteing, grilling or flash broiling.  Brush the Oysters with olive oil, sprinkle with herbs and then bake in a hot oven for 2 to 3 minutes; when served in clusters, they make a wonderful pu’pu.”  They also recommend dipping clusters in a light batter and frying up tempura style. Yum.

Pepeaio – This mushroom is indigenous to Hawaii and can be found growing in wet, cooler areas on Hawaii island.  After years of experimenting, Hamakua Mushroom is now cultivating them on farm. Officially categorized as Auricularia cornea, it is also known as kikurage, woodear, and yung ngo.  It grows in rosettes instead of caps.  It is plucked off its stem and sliced into thin strips and added to dishes – soups, stir fries, spring rolls, pastas, noodles. Its texture is crunchy (almost like seaweed) and while it doesn’t have a distinct flavor, it enhances and deepens in its own fungal way the flavors and texture of the dishes it is part of.  Also known to have medicinal properties.

Pioppini –  Growing in and sold in palm sized clusters, it has chocolate brown caps and long cream stems.  It flavorful and has a firm but silky texture so is good in stir-fry, use stem and all.  It can be almost nutty in flavor.  When dried it can develop an almost spicy quality.  It is a member of the shimeji mushroom family and is also known as Black Poplar mushroom.

Portobello – A full-grown cremini, the portobellos found at the farmers markets can be as large as your hand.  Because of this and its very fleshier texture and savory flavor it is a popular substitute for meat – a great addition to the hibachi.

Shiitake – Native to East Asia, but its popularity as a food and a food-medicine has led to cultivation worldwide. A good source of vitamin D and potassium. Shiitakes are loved for their umami –  savory, garlicky flavor. Their fleshy texture also can give them a meat quality.  To soften them up it is recommended that shiitake be cooked for over ten minutes.  It is also recommended that shiitake not be eaten raw as some folks can have an allergic reaction.  Dried shiitake must be soaked in hot water for 20 minutes or longer.  Save the water to add to cooking!


Selection and Storage Tips

Look for mushroom that are plump and clean.  Avoid those with slimy spots or are wrinkled.

Avoid leaving mushroom out of refrigeration as cold keeps their phytonutrient content high.

Mushrooms need to be stored in breathable bags. Store unwashed and wrapped in a paper bag in the crisper/veggie bin of the fridge.  Spread them out so they are not stacked on each other – contact with quicken rot.  Will keep for up to 4-7 days in the fridge — like all food , use sooner for optimal nutritional value.  Once they develop a slimy layer they are no longer considered fresh.


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