Desert Pearl Mushrooms

1. What are the differences between your mushrooms?

We grow several varieties of Oyster Mushrooms, a few different cultivars of Hericium (like Lion's Mane), and other Specialty Mushrooms. Read some light descriptions of some of our mushrooms, below, or see a more in-depth listing on our page about Our Mushrooms.

Oyster Mushrooms range in texture from soft and delicate to meaty and dense! They are known to impart anti-inflammatory effects and produce a range of textures and flavors. They typically last 5 to 7 days refrigerated unless noted otherwise.

  • Pathfinder Oyster – These off-white mushrooms have large, delicate caps with a robust stem with gills that gives it almost a “tongue-like” appearance and have a savory flavor. They are often large enough that cutting strips may be preferred, depending on your preparation.
  • ​​Pearl (White) Oyster – These mushrooms fruit a little smaller than Pathfinder and has a narrower stem with smaller caps that are perfect for cooking whole.
  • Pink Oyster – Pink oyster mushrooms are a summer variety that prefers to fruit in warmer weather. They have a beautiful color when fresh but be advised that the vibrant pink color turns brown when cooked. They have a strong umami, seafood-like flavor profile and lasts only 2-3 days refrigerated.
  • Golden Treasure – This variety has a pungent, savory light-coconut flavor and seafood-like aroma but is very short-lived and only lasts a brief 1-2 days.
  • Blue Oyster – This variety has a lighter savory flavor and its fruiting bodies range in size from small to medium. They are generally the most versatile oyster mushroom but are a cold-weather species that prefers winter conditions.
  • King Blue Oyster – These are a larger variety of blue oyster mushrooms that retain the same flavor and texture profile but have a lighter blue-gray color with larger caps and stems.
  • Black Pearl Oyster – Black pearl oyster mushrooms are denser with thicker stems and are great for cutting into strips. They are a great substitute for meat dishes as the flesh is heartier than other oyster mushrooms.
  • King Oyster – King oysters are common in Asian and European cuisine but have grown a significant following throughout the Americas as well. Trumpets have small caps and are prized for their long, thick stems with meaty flesh that are excellent for making vegan scallops, boneless ribs, or to simulate pork or ham and can be prepared any number of ways.
  • Black Pearl King Oyster Hybrid ("Black King") – These tout larger caps of black pearl oyster mushrooms, but also share thick stems like trumpet mushrooms and are great for making vegan scallops or cut lengthwise to produce meaty filets. Cube the stems to simulate pork or filet larger pieces to make mushroom parmigiana or vegan boneless ribs.
  • Phoenix Oyster – Also known as "Italian oyster" mushrooms, these are a more delicate variety of black oyster mushrooms that have stems similar to blue oyster mushrooms and their caps turn up around the edges to produce ruffles.

Lion’s Mane and its relatives Bear’s Head and Coral Tooth are a touted for their culinary and medicinal uses. Lion’s Mane and their cousins have been used in Eastern Medicine for over a thousand years to help promote neuro-motor function, boost memory recall, and assist with gut disorders.

  • Lion’s Mane and Bear’s Head – These mushrooms can be used to simulate different textures. The spines can be pulled apart to simulate lobster and crab meat; cut the mushrooms cross-sectionally to simulate steaks or chicken tenders; squeeze the juice out of the mushroom and then cook in another sauce to mimic pulled-pork.
  • Coral Tooth – This variety of mushrooms have all the same nutrients and medicinal properties as Lion’s Mane and Bear’s Head, but instead of propagating spines, the mushroom produces forked tips that resemble coral. The dense forks and light composition make this mushroom a great alternative to ground beef crumbles or crawfish tails.

Other Specialty Mushrooms that we grow differ in flavor, texture, and appearance. We also grow medicinal varieties that are desired for various holistic medicinal properties. We don't specialize or practice in naturopathic, traditional, or holistic medicine, however, we do know a thing or two about growing various mushrooms. We've worked with a few practitioners to source a few different popular varieties and we grow them for our customers to enjoy.

  • Shiitake – A favorite among chefs and consumers for the unique umami, smoky flavor and meaty texture.
  • Chestnut Mushroom – Their skin gets crispy when you pan-fry them for a few minutes before adding any oils. After a few minutes on medium to high heat, you can add oil or butter, or any other fats, to trap in the remaining moisture content, and they will still present their nice texture and nutty flavor.
  • Pioppino – These mushrooms have a pork-like flavor that makes for a delicious addition to any stir-fry, soup, or stew.
  • Golden Enoki – These have very small caps and long, thin stems, but a nice treat for any soup or saucy dish. They go well in stir-fry preparations as well, and have a light, unique savory flavor.
  • Reishi – A medicinal variety that is often used in traditional medicine for rest and relaxation. Generally not used in culinary preparations.†
  • Turkey Tail – Another medicinal variety used in traditional medicine as an immune booster. Also, generally not used in culinary preparations.†
  • Cordyceps – This bright yellow/orange mushroom is used as a holistic energy booster, either mixed in with coffee, tea, or consumed in pill, powder, or tincture form.†

† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Follow this link to read more about Our Mushrooms.

2. How fresh are these mushrooms?

We harvest our mushrooms one to two days prior to market, and so they are considered live mushrooms! Mature mushrooms may exhibit spores or mycelial regrowth, identified by a light brown dusting or a light white “fuzz” atop the caps. This is normal and signifies the mushroom’s desire to reproduce!

Although we cultivate our mushroom spawn in a sterile lab environment and clean indoor fruiting chambers, we highly encourage you to cook all mushrooms thoroughly to minimize the risks of contracting any food-borne illness.

3. How do I keep my mushrooms fresh after purchase?

After you buy some of our tasty mushrooms, they are best kept in your refrigerator with your packaging opened slightly to let your friendly fungi breathe. All of our varieties are grown indoors with high humidity, so they are bound to evaporate off some water. Letting them breathe in your fridge will minimize condensation of water vapor on your produce and keep your mushrooms fresher longer.

4. Can I eat these mushrooms raw, or should I cook them?

Few people have iron stomachs that can digest anything you feed them, however, most of us need a little help with proper preparation and digestion. Since we harvest our mushrooms prior to market, they are considered live mushrooms. Therefore, we encourage you to cook your mushrooms thoroughly to help break down the cell walls in order to get the most nutrition out of your meal and to take it easy on your gut. Not to mention the flavors turn out much better when you cook them with a little seasoning!

5. Where can I find some visual inspiration and mushroom recipes to help me get started?

You can find us frequently participating on social media through our official Instagram account and Facebook page located at and at with regular posts, as well as occasional updates through our website. We partner with different local culinary experts and fellow mushroom enthusiasts—including some of our own team—to come up with some delicious mushroom makes. Come visit us on social media to view some tasty mushroom treats!

6. Which methods of payment do you accept?

We happily accept cash, all major credit and debit cards, Cash App, Apple Pay, Google Pay, SNAP/EBT and Double Up Food Bucks through Heirloom Farmers Markets and the Santa Cruz River Farmers Market, as well as seasonal food vouchers and coupons (AZ Farmers Market Nutrition Program; AZ Women, Infants, & Children; and AZ Commodity Senior Food Program) when available.

7. Where can I find your mushrooms and other mushroom products?

We currently participate at most Heirloom Farmers’ Markets from 8am to 12pm (Fridays at Udall Park; Saturdays at Oro Valley Steam Pump Ranch; and Sundays at Rillito Downs Race Track) and our produce can be ordered through the Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market hosted by the Community Food Bank for Thursday pickups at Mercado San Augustin, Tucson Community Supported Agriculture (Tucson CSA) for pickups Wednesday and Thursday, Gallery of Food online orders for pickup or in-store at their Gallery of Food Bodega on Fort Lowell, Pivot Produce, and 5 Points Market & Restaurant.

Various restaurants around Tucson feature our mushrooms through different preparations—please check out our friends’ offerings at Falora Pizza, Vivace Restaurant, Ren Coffeehouse, and Feast—among others. Some of our grow supplies can be found either through our website, including our Oyster Mushroom Home Grow Kits and spent mushroom substrate for home gardening soil amendment.

8. Can I grow my own mushrooms?

Yes, you can! We sell home grow kits periodically at farmers markets and on our website. However, these kits are produced in small quantities and sell out fast. Submit a request and we can make some to order for you if readily-available stock is out. We also sell mushroom spawn and sterile substrate bags by custom order. Inquire/email us for more info!

9. Are your mushrooms poisonous, or will they become poisonous?

No! All of our mushrooms are ensured to be of a certain variety or species which are not poisonous and will not become poisonous. We obtained our original cell cultures from other commercial producers of quality mushrooms and from expert PhD mycologists at the University of Arizona, where we learned the beginnings of our trade. Some mushrooms in the wild are toxic and contain unwanted compounds because their species have evolved over millennia to genetically produce toxic compounds as a defense mechanism—which are specific to those species.

Although we are trained in identifying and confirming our edible varieties, for any questionable varieties that we come across, we are always certain to check with trained academics and other professionals to gain consensus on anything that could pose potential harm. Harmful mushrooms are not grown in our facility, to avoid any potential cross contaminations.

10. Do you have a retail storefront?

We currently do not have plans to open a retail storefront since we sell most of our mushrooms directly to restaurants, local grocers, and to the general public through various farmers' markets.

11. Is your farm open to the public for tours?

Sorry, our farm is not accessible to the public for walkthroughs or tours. Our production facilities are closed off because it minimizes foot traffic through production areas and helps ensure the cleanliness of our lab space. Minimizing contamination vectors ensures healthy mushrooms and eliminates the need for harmful pesticides and unnecessary chemicals so that we can grow our produce clean and safely.

12. How did you start your farm?

Desert Pearl Mushrooms (DPM) was founded in 2018 by University of Arizona alumni and friends. Starting out as a small backyard greenhouse operation, our mushroom family eventually grew to include a few other members and valued friends and family of our farm.

In our first year, DPM went from producing a modest weekly yield of 5 pounds of fresh mushrooms to now over 300 pounds per week after just a few years in our new facility—and we're still expanding! DPM moved into a warehouse just north of Downtown Tucson to scale-up operations and we're very passionate about learning, researching, and developing new products and services. We aim to contribute toward the development of economical and environmentally friendly mushroom production practices and infrastructure in the US, and to find new and improved sustainable methods and techniques of growing mushrooms.

We joined the University of Arizona's Center for Innovation startup incubator during the pandemic and have collaborated with other farmers, students and faculty, local businesses, and other startup organizations to expand our offerings at various markets and to further educate people on the benefits of integrating mushrooms into their diet.

13. I love your product! Or not. Can I submit a review? 

We know you'll love our products and hope you can share your feedback with us! And if there's any problem with your order, please let us know. Either way, we'd love to hear back from you!

You can always email us to ask any questions or let us know what you're looking for at:

And if you've tried any of our tinctures, we sincerely ask you to share with us your honest feedback on our Google Forms testimonial collection page here:

If you've been on the fence about holistic medicine, natural remedies, or mushroom supplements—and have "seen the light"—then please help us show others how functional mushrooms can benefit them too... by sharing your experience!