The Story of White Mountain Mushrooms

Editor’s Note:

Well, it’s been a busy week for me, and as such I have fallen behind on my writing for this blog. However, I want to take some time today to point my fellow fungal fanciers in the direction of White Mountain Mushrooms, which is a gourmet and medicinal mushroom company that was recently founded by ardent mycophiles Parker and Jimmie Veitch.

White Mountain Mushrooms
Brothers and mycophiles Parker and Jimmie Veitch, co-founders of White Mountain Mushrooms.

If you’ve been active in the North Carolina mushroom scene for any length of time, you’ve surely run into one or both of these fellows before, and their identification work with our native NC Piedmont species is second to none. I am so thrilled that White Mountain Mushrooms has come into the world, and I suspect that their venture will benefit many mycologically curious people in the future. Read onward for a snapshot of some of the projects and services White Mountain Mushrooms is offering to us folks who enjoy the mysterious and magical world of wild gourmet and medicinal mushrooms!

Yours In Fungal Fancy,

Mushroom Anna

White Mountain Mushrooms – Passionate Purveyors of Fine Fungi

White Mountain Mushrooms is a labor of love, born of a long-time fascination with fungi shared by brothers Parker and Jimmie Veitch. Parker was one of the first mushroomers I met when I moved to North Carolina in 2013, and his dedication to exploring the mycological world and sharing it with others runs deep. Although he is a rather quiet chap, Parker rarely misses an opportunity to help people out – from suggesting mushroom hunting locations to sharing his extensive identification know-how, Parker is a touchstone to us North Carolina mushroom folk.

Although Parker moved to Maine and launched White Mountain Mushrooms far afield from the NC Piedmont, he remains an active part of the local mushrooming community here in the North Carolina Triangle, and he and Jimmie chose to sponsor the Piedmont Mycological Society so as to keep the spirit of kinship alive among us NC foragers. His brother Jimmie is similarly involved with mycological communities around the nation, and their knowledge is a valuable resource to beginners and advanced mushroomers alike.

What They’re Doing

Chaga
Chaga, Inonotus obliquus, is a powerful medicinal fungus with a long history of beneficial use. Photo by Natureluvr01. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

White Mountain Mushrooms brings together a blend of scientific inquiry and zest for foraging that is sure to be helpful to those of us who value wild fungi. Among other things, White Mountain Mushrooms sells fine, wild crafted fungi, including the northerly chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus), which is one of the most treasured medicinal mushrooms in the world. They also sell gourmet species like black trumpets (Craterellus spp.), maitake/hen of the woods (Grifola frondosa), and other seasonal edible delights.

One of the core values the Veitches share is a desire to only sell the finest mushrooms available. If you’ve ever bought a packet of porcini mushrooms in the store, perhaps you know what a difference it makes to get the genuine article. After all, many commercial mushroom products are not the actual species they’re advertised to be (one study of a small package of porcini sold in the supermarket revealed that there were 3 previously unknown species in the bag, and likely many more so-called “porcini” are commercially sold around the world). Getting the “real deal,” so to speak, is not as easy as it sounds, and the Veitches have more than 15 years of experience in mycology and they hold themselves to more exacting standards than large global wild mushroom sellers whose products are available in grocery stores.

In addition to harvesting some of North America’s finest mushroom species and bringing them to market, Parker and Jimmie lead mushroom walks and provide educational services in order to spark curiosity and vanquish mycophobia in American culture. From foodies who like fresh and local goodies to sustainability advocates who appreciate the unique bioremediation potential of different fungal organisms, America is sort of undergoing a mycological rennaissance, and people like the Veitches are instrumental in transforming our relationship with remarkable and ecosystem-critical mushroom species.

Morel basket
The basket of a very happy mushroom hunter. Photo by Jim Ehle. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Another thing that is sure to please mushroom lovers of all stripes is that White Mountain Mushrooms has a free mushroom identification service; just snap some photographs and email them over, and Parker and Jimmie will give you their verdict, free of charge. I am not very advanced when it comes to mushroom identification and I still face a lot of hurdles, which is why this last part is so exciting to me. Parker and Jimmie’s experience in the forests of North Carolina have equipped them with the knowledge necessary to provide invaluable identification insights for those of us who still have a lot to learn.

One of the things I appreciate about the mushroom hunter’s ethos is our spirit of kinship and our tendency to be generous with our knowledge and time. I believe that the Veitches are truly living that philosophy by offering to help with wild specimens that folks find, and I can attest to their skill and precision when it comes to identification because I’ve seen them nail countless ID requests over the past few years.

So, if you’ve got an unknown mushroom on your hands or wish to explore the potential of fungi as food and medicine, I suggest that you take some time to check out White Mountain Mushrooms. From one forager to another, I wish both Parker and Jimmie all the very best in their new mycological adventure.


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