Fungi fun – Sugarbush, VT to global forays

Forest fungi

Gather fungi for fun and feast © Sandy Macy for Sugarbush, VT Fungi Fest

Deep in the forests of Vermont lurk dank, yet edible funghi waiting to be harvested by a hungry hoard of mycologists. As feverish as divers waiting to pounce on the oyster with the largest pearl, these scientists -for- the-day are sifting through the carpet of leaves and twigs, searching for a patch of morels, porcini, or other wild mushrooms to prepare for their evening celebration.

This year’s Funghi Fest takes place September 10, 2011 at Timbers Restaurant in Sugarbush Village. It begins at 3:00 p.m. when resident mycologist John Atkinson leads the group on a three hour trek, searching for the various forms of mushrooms while telling of the magic and mystery surrounding this curious denizen of the woods. If you have never delved into the inner secrets of mushrooms, as I had not, a world of fascinating research awaits you.

SandyMacyson grate fungi_05

Today's catch of native fungi waiting to be sorted ©Sandy Macy for Sugarbush Resort

From Vermont to Great Britain, from upstate New York and Telluride, CO to New Zealand and beyond, a breed of investigators get down to earth and try to unlock the secrets of these mysterious workers.  Yes, workers, for they clean up the forest floor by devouring waste, they provide antibiotics for many diseases, and produce fermentation for food and drink. They have a surprising number of nourishing benefits. In addition, their paucity of cholesterol and calories makes them an important food for dieters. Other mushroom disciples embrace their psychedelic enhancement powers.

To begin an educational course in one page would not give the subject the attention it deserves, so here I have listed some links to a tempting menu of Fungi Forays, YouTube fungi hunts, organizations and societies promoting the “sport” and lastly, a link to Fungi Perfecti, a company in the state of Washington that will tempt you with all the means of growing these gems yourself – indoors or out.

Fungi dinner by Sandy Macy for Sugarbush, VT Resort

Fungi Fest group awaits a feast of their harvest © Sandy Macy for Sugarbush Resort

No sneering – I once received an indoor mushroom kit for Christmas. It came complete with a short piece of log, already impregnated with spores ready to grow. I doted on it, waiting for some magical power that never came to me. I only regretted my children were too old to share it. In fact, I may get another. I’m never too old.

Links to a few Fungi Forays around the world:

reishi_kit

A Reishi mushroom kit from Fungi Profundi in Olympia, WA - their photo

In The United States:
Kerhonkson, NY – Soyuzivka Ukranian Cultural Center
A colorful video of a beautiful section of the Catskill Mountains in  New York including hiking trails, and Ukranian dinces.
Sugarbush Fungi Fest and other September events
Take a look at the other activities taking place at Sugarbush this fall, and the housing choices. Special packages available.
Telluride, CO Mushroom Festival and Mushroom Dance

(I think they had eaten some first)

In England:
Fungi to be With Organization
This site, begun by a charming young man, lets you in on a personal side of Mycology.

New Zealand:
Funchal Foray
This is perhaps the most informative TV interview on NZ Channel 1, by a professional who knows what questions to ask.

More fungi facts:
Curiosity piqued? Here is a U.S. source for everything mushroom, including growing kits.
A brief Introduction to Fungi Perfecti

And for the pinnacle of International Fungi Organizations, search Rogers Mushrooms:
Here you will find worldwide forays – what a great way to visit a foreign country. Meet locals with a mutual interest and you’ll be friends for life!

A final note: There is an app available for your portable devices. If you come upon a strange and wonderful fungus, you’ll have a guide book at your fingertips. People will cluster round you, looking for your special knowledge, Professor.   Mushroom App

For more Striped Pot articles by Gail Hunter

And please don’t ask if there’s a fungus among us; for be sure, there is.

 

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Comments

  1. Wow! I think this would be fun if you know what you are doing… meanwhile I will continue to love eating mushrooms of all types!

  2. Gail Hunter says:

    No need to know what you are doing…the leaders teach you which are the safe ones, and which are poisonous. And when it’s over, you learn some delicious recipes as you cook them for the feast. Before or after, you can enjoy the many other events at Sugarbush – like a zip ride over the forest. Fun for all.

  3. Patty Davis says:

    I remember mushroom hunting as a child. I learned to recognize the ‘safe’ ones from my grandfather.

  4. Many thanks for the great article Gail! The rains have returned and the mushrooms are popping again. We found a few pounds of oyster mushrooms this week on a walk with the Waitsfield Garden Club.

    I hope to see everyone on September 10th!

    John

    • Adam P says:

      I can’t wait to check this out, John! Last weekend I found chanterelles in Waterbury and got very excited. One time near the same area I came across a small polyozellus multiplex which was pretty delicious, wish I could get my hands on more. I’m going to pick your brain on mushroom species and identification tips; owning a few books, the identification seems quite subjective and of course the age of the fruiting body determines much of its physical characteristics. Sometimes this leads me to confusion. Hope we come away more educated because of this!

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