Food & Drink: Fungus fun

Where to forage in 2016

By Tanya Henry

This is the time of year to celebrate all things fungus! From guided mushroom foraging hikes to a fungus fair in West Marin, there are plenty of ways to get your “fungus” on in January.

The group ForageSF will be offering eight guided hikes throughout January and February in the Point Reyes National Seashore area. The group, established by Iso Rabins in 2008, meets in Inverness and then caravans to specific foraging spots. The guided hikes teach mushroom lovers about how and where fungus grows and which types are good enough to safely eat. The cost is $90 per person, and the outings, held rain or shine, last around three to four hours. A full list of required and optional supplies are emailed to participants when they book their adventure. To learn more, or to book a trip, visit bit.ly/1ROcqr9.

If you still can’t get enough, head over to the Bear Valley Visitor Center (a half-mile west of Olema) on Sunday, January 3 for their 11th annual Point Reyes National Seashore Fungus Fair from 10am to 4pm. Speakers will cover topics that include Forest Fires and Fungi, The Art and History of Mushroom Dyes and Zen and Art of Mushroom Hunting. To learn more, visit nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/events_fungusfair.htm.

Perhaps the most dedicated and enthusiastic advocate for mushroom foraging is Kevin Sadlier, co-owner of Green Jeans Nursery in Mill Valley. Given his years of experience and love for foraging, it’s not all that surprising that he’s led an effort in creating The Mycological Society of Marin. Earlier this month, the group held their first meeting at the Mill Valley Library, and future meetings will be held the second Wednesday of each month at the same location. Michael Wood, co-author of California Mushrooms, and Connie Green, co-author of The Wild Table: Seasonal Foraged Food and Recipes, are scheduled to speak at upcoming meetings, and the group will offer organized forays, an annual fungus festival, cultivation seminars, scholarships and camping and cooking events. David Campbell—truffle and edible mushroom expert—is serving as the group’s first president, and his company, MycoVentures, offers local mushroom forays as well as truffle tours in Italy and Croatia. To learn more, email [email protected]

Finally, though not related to wild mushrooms, pioneering Gourmet Mushrooms Inc. in Sebastopol cultivates more specialty mushrooms than any other farm in America. Their impressive operation, founded in 1977, has provided a model of “best practices” for other growers around the country. They have also compiled a delicious collection of mushroom recipes that range from savory appetizers to a sweet dessert and much in between. For fabulous fungi inspiration, visit blog.mycopia.com.

Pacific Sun
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