Randiah Camille Green
Calling all shroomsters, The Mushroom Hub is open.
If you’ve spent any time in Detroit's Midtown in the past couple of months, you may have noticed a nondescript window sign for The Mushroom Hub
on Cass Avenue.
For curious fungi lovers who’ve been waiting to find out more about this mystery store, the wait is finally over. The Mushroom Hub is open for business.
Inside you’ll find fresh shrooms like maitake (hen of the woods), porcini, and shiitake, medicinal mushroom powders, coffee substitutes, and even mushroom chocolate. The official grand opening is planned for September, but you don’t have to wait until then to get your mushroom fix. The hub is open seven days a week as of June 17.
It’s a mushroom-nerd's paradise. Or, you know, just a cool place for people who use mushrooms as a meat substitute, as plant-based diets become more trendy. No shame in either.
The mushrooms are sourced from a variety of places including The Mushroom Hub’s farm in Windsor, Canada, where their original shop is located, and Mycopia Mushroom farm in Scottville, Michigan. The Detroit store is the company’s second location.
“We grow our own mushrooms 6.5 miles from here in Windsor and we carry six varieties from Mycopia which grows certified organic exotics,” owner Denis Vidmar tells Metro Times
. “All the wild mushrooms are sourced regionally from the pacific northwest. Right now we have porcinis and morels that are coming in from Oregon. Sadly, we missed the morel season here in Michigan, but soon we’re gonna get into the chicken of the woods, hen of the woods, and shrimp of the woods season."
And before you ask, there are no “magic” mushrooms containing psilocybin here. At least, not yet anyway. Vidmar says he’s “100% planning to incorporate psilocybin mushrooms" if they are legalized in Michigan in the near future, which isn’t much of a stretch, as cities like Denver have decriminalized mushrooms in recent years
“There’s over 200 strains of fungi that contain psilocybin, and we share education and tell people to make sure they’re doing it for the right reasons,” he explains. “It’s not a party drug, it’s a mental health treatment. Right now we’re The Mushroom Hub, but eventually, it will be a magical mushroom hub, where there will be a professional guide or psychiatrist on the second floor who will be able to then guide your usage.”
Vidmar encourages people to eat non-magic mushrooms at every meal for medicinal benefits. Before cooking, Vidmar recommends that customers let the mushrooms sit in a bowl of water in the sun for 15 to 30 minutes for a Vitamin D boost. A sign outside the store says so.
“For every deficiency that a person is battling today, my personal belief is that there’s a fungi that will help you whether you’re Vitamin D deficient, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, so many things,” he tells us. “Here we have a product that we can pick up right now, and I can expose it to the sun for 30 minutes and it will give me enough Vitamin D for my daily requirement. There’s so much power there.”
After an hour of absorbing Vidar’s mycelium knowledge, we wondered how he became such an encyclopedia of info. Turns out he’s a second-generation mushroom farmer who was born in Croatia, grew up in Bosnia, and lived in China, Vietnam, and Canada before moving to Detroit.
“I grew up on mushroom farms in Asia, Europe, and North America, and then I started on my dad’s mushroom farm in Canada about 15 years ago,” he says. “Then I expanded to exotic and wild mushrooms and I’m still learning, even now.”
Randiah Camille Green
The "shroomster box" with two pounds of mushrooms.
Eventually, The Mushroom Hub plans to offer mushroom tastings, grab-and-go meals incorporating mushrooms, and a food truck. For now, you can stop in and grab a “shroomster box,” which has two pounds of mixed mushroom varieties.
“Shroomsters are people who add mushrooms to every meal, so you get 32 ounces of mushrooms that you get to devour over the next 10 days,” Vidmar says. “For every taste profile that we enjoy with meat, there’s a mushroom that mimics it. When you show people they’re attracted to the texture and not the actual meat, they will just keep eating and they’ll realize there’s no cholesterol or [high] blood pressure coming alongside it. It’s a beautiful feeling.”
He pulls a jar of dried lobster mushrooms off that shelf that can be used to make vegan lobster bisque and lobster rolls. Smaller portions of certain varieties are also available if a massive box of shrooms seems unreasonable.
“There are mushrooms out there that have more potassium per serving than a banana, so that’s the failure of our health industries today for not telling the people,” he says. “That’s why we’re here. We have an obligation to our community to say, hey why don’t you drop the pills for a bit and try something natural.”
The Mushroom Hub is located at 4240 Cass Ave., suite #104, Detroit, and opens at 11 a.m. daily.
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