Discover Mushroom Jerky from ‘Ōpala Foods at the Honolulu Farmers Market at Blaisdell and Farm Link Hawai‘i
The mushroom grower offers pink and white oyster mushrooms and mushroom jerky for a vegetarian version of taegu.
Pink oyster mushrooms
Photos: Martha Cheng
They met at a kickball party and started growing mushrooms together. No, not that kind of shrooms, even though the blush pink mushrooms look like they could have come out of a hallucinogenic haze and their newest product is called Day Trippers. Noah Brown and Elijah Crow grow oyster mushrooms—mild and delicate, best stir-fried or, as Brown recently discovered, raw in a ceviche.
When they met, they both happened to be cultivating fungi, just for fun. “In an apartment, there’s not a whole lot you can grow, but you can grow mushrooms,” says Crow, who was studying for a master’s degree in bioengineering, while Brown was a distiller for a local rum company. They also both liked the potential in upcycling waste to grow them (hence the incongruent business name—‘Ōpala Foods). They started ‘Ōpala Foods about two years ago, growing their mushrooms from discarded coffee grinds, wood and straw. Brown and Crow chose oyster mushrooms for how well they adapt to Hawai‘i’s climate and because they’re able to digest a wide variety of material. And so, out of trash, food.
‘Ōpala Foods offers white and pink oyster mushrooms, fresh, dried and—my favorite—as mushroom jerky. Chewy, sweet and spicy, it’s a vegetarian version of taegu. Opala Foods will be selling jerky and mushrooms at the Honolulu Farmers Market at Blaisdell, which returns this week, Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m., and via Farm Link Hawai‘i.