Skip to main Content
Food and Drink

Here’s how to get your fill of fresh-grown mushrooms in an Alaska winter

  • Author: Steve Edwards
  • Updated: December 13, 2017
  • Published December 12, 2017

A bowl filled with blue oyster mushrooms is harvested for an upcoming Far North Fungi farmers market sale. Allison Dunbar and Gabriel DeGange cultivate mushrooms at their Anchorage home and began their Far North Fungi business earlier this year. Photographed on April 11, 2017. (Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News)

It's mushroom mania as the holidays get closer.

Far North Fungi is offering new products at both Thankful Thursday and the Center Market on Saturday. Owners Gabe DeGange and Allison Dunbar have a mushroom grow kit and medicinal chaga tincture available at the markets, along with their traditional blue oyster mushrooms and oyster mushroom powder.

For the grow kit, "folks get to take home the kit and experience growing their very own mushrooms. This is something my mom always did with me as a kid, and is likely why I am a mushroom farmer today," Dunbar says.

The chaga tincture features harvested fungi from Alaska birch trees. "Chaga is best known for being high in antioxidants, boosting the immune system, and reducing inflammation," Dunbar says. "Our tincture is consumed directly or mixed in a drink providing a strong tea flavor. Our concentrated chaga tincture was steeped for two months and carefully distilled, ensuring all benefits of the fungi are captured."

If that's not enough mushroom fun, join DeGange and Dunbar for one of their regular Mushroom Cultivations Workshops from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Friday. Dunbar says this month's workshop covers the basics of hobby to small-scale mushroom farming. The changing workshops each feature a new mushroom species, growing style or processing technique.

Friday's workshop starts off with a tour of the urban farm, "walking folks through the day in the life of a mushroom farmer," Dunbar says. "We go on to discuss the role of fungi in broad terms. Such as how they outnumber plants 10 to 1 and yet we rarely see them, and how forests, modern medicine and some of our favorite foods — beer, cheese and sour flavoring — is ultimately the product of fungi."

The workshop wraps up with participants making a mushroom grow kit of blue oyster mushrooms, which will produce edible mushrooms in about a month. Tickets are $25, and can be purchased at Youth tickets are $15 and kids under 10 attend for free. Visit or call 907-227-9975 for more information.

Williwaw Public Market

Some of the regular market vendors, including Farm 779 and Drool Central, will be at the Williwaw Public Market from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday.

Julie Meer says Farm 779 will have kefir dipping blends, Jules Jubilee, peony chaga kombucha and King Arthur Flour matcha chaga date biscotti wheels. Daisy Nicolas will have plenty of treats for canines at the market.

Williwaw is more than a farmers market, with loads of handmade goods, coffee, entertainment, food and drinks. Williwaw is at 601 F St.

Nicholas also is establishing a "permanent" pop-up in a small space at 10950 O'Malley Centre Drive, behind The Spice and Tea Exchange. It is open noon to 5 p.m., Wednesday-Sunday. It is, however, closed this Saturday.

Center Market

Several of the regular vendors are lined up for the three-times-per-week market at the Mall at Sears.

Alex Davis has added candied bacon chunks to his pork options. "Eat on its own or with Brussels sprouts or roasted vegetables," he says. Other pork items include chops, ribs, loin roast, chorizo, a variety of sausages, bones and fat.

Davis has a wide variety of vegetables, including green cabbage, kohlrabi, red beets, golden beets, potatoes, carrots and Brussels sprouts. He also has eggs, jam and apple butter.

Monica's Confection Connection will be at all three markets this week with fudge, brittle, caramels, and gummies. Rempel Family Farm will be at Saturday's market with a large selection of storage vegetables and yak meat.

Also look for items from Wild Child fermented salsa, Alaska Fisherman Seafood Direct, Alaska Sprouts, Alaska Flour Co., Mosquito Mama balsamic vinegar, Northern Lights Mushrooms, Doggy Decadence treats, Windy River Farm grass-fed beef, Tonia's Biscotti, Evie's Brinery items, Jonsers' hand-crafted nectars and Alaska Seeds of Change.

Thankful Thursdays

Farm 779 will be at the market with coconut kefir ferments, old-world style cold ferments, krauts, growlers with turmeric ginger and peony chaga kombucha tea, cookies and body butters.

Duane Clark will have cuts of grass-fed beef and yak, pork, salsa, zucchini relish, jams, birch syrup, honey, potatoes and carrots.

Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. Contact him at

Local farmers markets

Wednesday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street

Thursday in Anchorage: Thankful Thursdays market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street

Friday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; Fourth Avenue Indoor Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 333 W. Fourth Ave.

Saturday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; Fourth Avenue Indoor Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 333 W. Fourth Ave

Sunday in Anchorage: Fourth Avenue Indoor Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 333 W. Fourth Ave.

Local news matters.

Support independent, local journalism in Alaska.