Hello world, Mushroom Anna here.
I am delighted to announce that I am leading a wild mushroom foraging class at Pickards Moutain Eco Institute on Saturday, August 30. Pickards Mountain is a lovely environmental and agricultural education center located just outside of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, North Carolina. If you want to learn the basics of mushroom hunting, this is the class for you!
The class will start at 10:00 am, and will include an introduction to mushroom hunting, mushroom identification, and fungal ecology, followed by a guided wild mushroom hunt and a culinary tasting of some of the delicious and abundant wild mushrooms.
The North Carolina mushroom season is humming right along, and I’ve
found some lovely specimens in the past few weeks. There’s a great variety of species out at the moment: chanterelles, black trumpets, hedgehogs, chicken of the woods, and all sorts of amanitas, albatrellus, and lepiotas to boot!
Email me if you have any questions, and feel free to contact the good folks at Pickards Mountain if you want to register for the class!
Just so folks are aware, mushroom hunting is a delicate balance of play and work. To be truly successful while foraging mushrooms, attention to detail is important. I suggest that class participants bring along the following supplies to have a safe, enjoyable, and rewarding experience on our walk:
- Good shoes and perhaps a spare pair of socks/sandals/shoes. Although it might not be wet out in the woods, it’s usually a really good idea to have some spare footwear just in case your feet get soaked. Nothing in the world feels more unpleasant to me than driving home with wet feet! Also, sturdy footwear is recommended; the woods at Pickards Mountain are not on difficult terrain, but it’s nice to have some ankle support and solid soles so that you can tromp around without fear of twisting an ankle or some other hazard!
- A mushroom collecting basket, bag, or box. I personally prefer to hunt mushrooms with a reusable grocery bag; it’s easy to carry, simple to clean, and has ample space for mushrooms! Also, its shape makes it easy to place mushrooms in discrete bags for identification. Baskets are similarly good, and some people even like tackle boxes or tool boxes so they can keep specimens separate!
- Waxed paper bags, small paper sacks, or some other small bags to keep certain mushrooms apart from others. I always recommend that people toss out any mushrooms that have been in contact with a mushroom that is poisonous, or was not identified at the time of collection. The best way to keep good edibles and unknown mushrooms apart is to store them in separate bags. This is particularly relevant to mushrooms that you want identified; if the mushrooms are all jumbled together in your box, bag, or mushroom hunting basket, they can be damaged and stained by other mushrooms, which makes proper identification more difficult.
- A hat: again, just in case it rains.
- A knife: I typically recommend that mushroom hunters slice off a mushroom at the base instead of plucking the whole specimen up (the exception being for mushrooms that need to be identified; in that case collect everything you can, because there are some very distinguishing features at the base of some mushrooms, like volvas/universal veil remnants). Either way, a knife is a good tool for cutting and cleaning out wild mushrooms (especially the ones you want to eat!)
- Any mushrooms you’ve found lately that you want identified.
- Any wild mushroom books or guides that you want to have access to. I will have a variety of books that folks can use, but feel free to bring your own copies as well!