Steve Schmidt (left) and novice mushroom
seekers Ann Murphy (RAG writer and editor)
and Jim Wrathall.
The Oregon Association of Nurseries is offering Random Acts of Gardening (RAG) readers a unique opportunity, but space is very limited!
Join Steve Schmidt, horticulturalist, for a mushroom foraging adventure in the forests near Estacada, Ore. the morning of Saturday, November 13. The adventure is limited to only six RAG readers.
I had the pleasure of spending a day mushroom hunting with Steve and a few others a few weeks ago. It was my very first time looking for edible forest mushrooms and we brought home loads of chanterelles and a few hedgehogs and angels wings. Yummmmmm! Steve has “the sight.” He can spot a Chanterelle at 50 paces, especially the ones that us novice harvesters were practically standing on but didn’t see.
The hemlock/fir forest ecosystem is my very favorite. When you’re searching for mushrooms, you really start to pay attention to the forest floor. All types, sizes and colors of mushrooms seem to materialize out of nowhere. It’s a marvel of diversity, however, you don’t want to eat most of them.
Steve will share his secrets for finding edible mushrooms, particularly chanterelles, by looking for the type of environment in which they thrive. You’ll even learn how to use a compass to safely navigate the woods (a life skill everyone should have, in my opinion). What does this have to do with gardening? My walks in the forest inspire my use of native plants in the garden. I’ve also thought about the possibility of inviting mushroom spores into my garden for future harvests, but after my mushroom hunt, I doubt that is realistic: each variety exists in a specialized environment.
You’ll be tromping through the forest (no trails!) so you need to have excellent mobility and the ability and character to enjoy a mildly taxing walk over and around trees, forest shrubs and groundcovers, possibly in the rain. If you want to learn about harvesting wild mushrooms and can…
- commit to being in Estacada by 9 a.m. on Saturday, November 13;
- walk in the woods until 1 p.m.;
- drive or carpool from our meeting destination to the mushroom hunting site (the last few miles are on a gravel road);
- dress warmly and in rain gear if necessary;
- beg, borrow or buy a bucket or basket (preferably that you can tie to your waist), compass, whistle, knife, foam brush (from the hardware store for brushing off dirt), and walking stick (or find a stick in the woods); and
- agree to respectfully harvest mushrooms so their populations continue to thrive
…then register to join us! You’ll gain the confidence to go out on your own for future mushroom hunting adventures and receive information on how to prepare your treasures! For those that join us, we’ll email you mushroom hunting etiquette, a supply list and directions to the starting destination where you’ll pick up your mushroom hunting permit (free).