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Pink Oyster Mushroom

Featured Article

Three Caps Farms Enlightens Us on Mushrooms

Article by Melinda Gipson, Ian Triplett

Photography by Ian Triplett, Melinda Gipson

Originally published in Leesburg Lifestyle

We stumbled upon Three Cap Farms during the Loudoun County Spring Farm Tour and kind of fell in love. Ian Triplett, a veteran who until 2020 made his career in finance, is a self-described mushroom ninja. Yet, his produce is so varied and beautiful, it’s hard not to call him an artist, which is why his commissioned American Gothic knock-off t-shirt art is so appropriate. It is not hyperbole to say that his mushrooms are gorgeous – in looks as well as taste.

Ian became admittedly obsessed with mushrooms himself after buying a mushroom grow kit in 2016. Fast forward to the pandemic and you’ll find that Ian has gone all-in, cashing in his finance job and growing a small selection of gourmet, boutique mushrooms on the family farm. Originally, the idea was to market his produce to area chefs, but he has made mushrooms so approachable with his near tactile descriptions and recipes, that almost anyone can enjoy cooking with mushrooms, either enhancing their own recipes or trying those curated by Ian’s site at

He's even gone the extra mile, telling you how to store, rehydrate, saute, and tenderize nearly many varieties of edible fungus. Ian claims to grow “mushrooms that are of the highest quality. Our naturally grown mushrooms have more flavor and nutrition than anything you'll find at your big box grocery store.” But you can’t buy them there – only at Western Loudoun Farmers Market  in Purcellville on Saturdays, EatLoco Farmers Market in One Loudoun on Saturdays, and Gilberts Corner Farmers Market on Sundays.

We encourage you to take the following descriptions with you the next time you shop, then, “cook 'em up, share them with friends and family, and talk about them... [then] tell us what you think,” says Ian. “We'd love that.”

Among 3CF’s Spring and Summer varietals are these, complete with Ian’s commentary about how the Triplett family likes to enjoy them:

Golden Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus citrinopileatus): It has the flavor indicative of a classic oyster mushroom: think woodsy and sea. It is a lighter mushroom with a nutty finish. It is great in lighter fare such as white meats, lighter fish and shellfish, and green vegetables. Ian likes to shred this mushroom, then saute with butter, then add his favorite BBQ sauce and make mushroom BBQ sandwiches.

Pink Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus djamor): Another popular summer varietal mushroom, its flavor is often compared with country ham, bacon, or lobster. (We know, that’s weird.) It goes great with eggs, on top of steak (think mushroom surf and turf) or in a creamy tomato pasta dish. "We also love to take a whole flowing body, drizzle butter all over it with some powdered garlic and pepper and roast the mushroom, somewhat like a blooming onion."

Italian Oyster: This mushroom is a hearty flavored mushroom, great paired with red meats and onion, or as a complete substitute to red meats. We love to saute this guy with onions and then add it to virtually anything meaty, e.g. burgers, steak, stews, stir-frys, burgers, burgers, burgers, and did we mention burgers?

Pioppino (Cyclocybe aegerita): This mushroom has a more delicate and nuanced flavor profile. It is semi sweet, tasting of yeasty bread with a woodsy dark chocolate, nuttiness all thrown in. It is great sauteed, just cook down the stems first because they tend to have a more fibrous structure as compared with the caps. It goes great in any dish, but we personally love using this in Italian dishes, especially mushroom ragu or mushroom risotto.

Among Fall varietals are:

King Oyster (Pleurotus eryngii): Another mushroom with the classic oyster mushroom flavor widely sought after by chefs. It is highly prized for its dense, meaty stems, which can act as a meat or seafood substitute, texturally. They are great sauteed, roasted, or grilled. “One of our personal favorite recipes is to cut the stem 1/3 of an inch thick to create medallions, much like scallops. Score the top and bottom of each medallion. Then saute in rich butter on medium high heat for about 3 minutes per side. Then add to your preferred dish. You’ve made mushroom scallops!”

Black Pearl Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus - Hybrid): This hybridized mushroom takes the best characteristics of the Italian Oyster and the King Oyster. It has incredibly rich flavor and often very meaty stems. It serves as a staple grilling mushroom or, when grown large enough, can be cut into filets from the stems, marinaded, then grilled like steak. Finish them off by sauteing the caps with onions to add to the top of your mushroom steaks.

Lion’s Mane or Bear’s Head Mushroom (Hericium erinaceus or Hericium americanum): Otherwise known as the “pom pom” mushroom, the Lion’s Mane (or it’s cousin the Bear’s Head) Mushroom is delicate in flavor with a mild seafood, nutty taste. Having a unique texture, it shreds wonderfully. “We especially using this in lieu of crab – think mushroom crab cakes – or in classic Central or South American dishes.

Don’t forget to check out 3CF’s other collected recipes or sign up to stay in the loop at

  • Three Caps Gothic by Ian Steffen
  • Golden Oyster
  • Pink Oyster Mushroom
  • Pioppino
  • King Oyster
  • Lion's Mane Mushroom
  • Ian at EatLoco
  • Ian Showing One of His Mushroom Grow Sheds
  • Italian Oyster Mushrooms
  • Black Pearl Oyster Mushrooms