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Farmers Market: Luv Tempeh deals in fungal foods and beverages

Maddalena Tumminaro with Luv Tempeh sells tempeh, miso, amazake and more at the Durango Farmers Market. (Nick Gonzales/Durango Herald)
Maddalena Tumminaro sells tempeh, miso, amazake and the like

Mushroom farmers seem to be crawling out of the woodwork in droves recently, but when it comes to more complex fungus-based foods, Luv Tempeh is the place to go.

“Everything I do is mycelium,” said Maddalena Tumminaro. “Mycelium is what the mushroom grows out of – that’s what’s happening under the ground. It’s before the fruiting body.”

She sells tempeh, amazake, miso, other filamentuous fungus creations, such as cookies. Tempeh is a filamentous fungus that grows around beans, grains and legumes. Miso is made from a mycelium base (grown on rice or millet in this case). And amazake is a rice beverage is made from mycelium – Tumminaro said she harvests the digestive enzymes from the mycelium, isolates that and cultures it.

“The tempeh is beans, grains and legumes that’s grown around this filamentuous fungus,” she said. “It’s like a cheese-making process but with plants.”

In addition to the Durango Farmers Market, Tumminaro’s Luv Tempeh products can be found at Nature’s Oasis, Durango Natural Foods Co-op and Mancos’ Zuma Natural Foods.

“It’s a real craft, this is not something that is stable,” she said. “This is really, truly alive. It ages, it grows, it has different nuances when the weather is different, the flavors change and there is a really cool science around this."