David Falkowski’s Open Minded Organics is in a category of its own. Coming into his twelfth season, Open Minded Organics began about the same time as the Sag Harbor Farmers Market, the first premier farmers market on the East End of Long Island. Ever since his business’s inception, he has been successfully cultivating and selling his mushrooms. Based on Butter Lane in Bridgehampton, Dave is very hands on with all areas of production, from beginning to finish.
Originally, Open Minded Organics started off with the idea of landscape design. “I basically started out knocking on back doors in restaurants and developing relationships with the chefs. It is not so much about your product being in a restaurant, it is more of a relationship with the farmer and the chef. It is them who take those products and turn them into something great. Farmer needs to grow consistent quality, beautiful products, the chef needs to be steady with their work. The relationship begins when the chef says to the farmer, this is my commitment to you. What should I do with it? Should I turn it [your product] into something else?”
When learning about the art of mushroom growing, it is a skill one needs to hone over time. “In the beginning, with a little bit of luck, I began cultivating mushrooms in different capacities through two schools of cultivation: mimicking what nature does by growing on bogs or outdoor beds or growing in a closed controlled environment in a green house,” explains Falkowski.
He grows a very diverse range of mushrooms including Shiitake, Blue Oyster, White Oyster, King Oyster, Yellow Oyster, and experiments with Lion’s Mane, Maitake, and Reishi. For storing mushrooms, they should be stored in a loose paper bag or in an open wicker basket, as it is more important to keep them in a dry environment. How long they keep can vary, as it depends how they have been handled and harvested. Were they kept next to fruit, for example? Traditionally speaking, mushrooms keep for no more than one week.
Restaurants that Dave has a great working relationship with are Il Capuccino in Sag Harbor, Fresh Hamptons in Bridgehampton with Chef Todd Jacobs, and Page at 63 Main in Sag Harbor with Chef James Carpenter.
Dave has a also has a wonderful relationship with his customers at the Farmers Markets across the Hamptons. If you stop by his stand, he may just through some mushrooms on the grill for you to sample. “I use olive oil, garlic powder, and splash of Worcestershire sauce, if you are feeling fancy!” says Falkowski.
Dave doesn’t just grow and sell mushrooms! A bounty of vegetables are also for sale at his stand at the farmers markets, including 200 different varieties of vegetables and herbs, 15-20 varieties of peppers, 30-40 different varieties of herbs, and 20 different varieties of tomatoes! “Farmers markets are the core of the business. It is an interesting dynamic because of the higher foot traffic, which warrants a larger, more abundant display,” says Falkowski. There is a good chance you will see a newly built farm stand at the entrance to his farm on Butter Lane soon! For more information, please visit http://openmindedorganics.com
*Photo courtesy of David Falkowski