Sam Kim of Bohemian Well Being Farm is a familiar face to farmers market shoppers throughout Sonoma County. At the peak of the season, when all our markets are in full swing, you’ll find him at several each week with his cultivated and wild mushrooms, some not much bigger than a toothpick, others larger than dinner plates.
At his 136-acre farm in Occidental, he grows shiitakes, oyster mushrooms and reishi, a species that is highly valued for its medicinal properties. The shiitakes are cultivated on inoculated wood branches and there are always a couple of these branches on display at his stall.
For his dried shiitakes, Kim leaves them on wood longer.
Kim’s sister, Jansing Kim of Half Moon Bay, raises three species for her brother, the tiny enoki, the delicately delicious maitake and the robust white trumpet, which can be sliced, sauteed in butter and savored as a main course.
His west country property is rich with mushrooms, including huge wild reishi and Turkey Tail, also known as yun-zhi , a mushroom that is highly valued for its cancer-fighting properties. Yun-zhi is often combined with dried dates, which Kim also sells, and brewed to make a medicinal tea.
Wood ear mushrooms thrive near Dutch Bill Creek, which runs through Kim’s property, and he usually has a pile of the dark gelatinous fungi piled next to the maitake. They are wonderful added to a simple mushroom ragout or sauteed in butter and served with a mound of roasted asparagus.
Reishi are probably the best known of the medicinal mushrooms and its effects have been widely documented. Kim is well-versed on the healing property of reishi and his other mushrooms and keeps laminated charts and articles that attest to these powers at his booth. He is always happy to explore the subject with customers.
Kim also grows ginseng; ten acres of his property is devoted to the cultivation of the perennial plant, which is valued for its fragrant root, used both fresh and dried, as a health supplement.
Sam Kim ships medicinal mushrooms to customers outside of Sonoma County but locals need to visit his farmers market stalls, as he does not take special orders and the farm is not open to the public.
Bohemian Well Being Farm was founded in 1991 and has been at its current location in Occidental for 19 years. It is owned an operated by Sam Kim. You’ll find him year round at the Sonoma Valley Farmers Market on Friday morning and at the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farms Market (50 Mark West Springs Rd.) on Wednesday and Saturday. He’ll be at the Sebastopol Farmers Market on Sunday mornings through April. He also attends the Occidental Bohemian Farmers on Friday afternoons from June through October and the Wednesday Night Market in Santa Rosa from May through August.