I joined the Mushroom Club of Georgia almost a year ago. And then promptly got a job in New Orleans and was not able to participate in any of the amazing meetings or field trips the group hosts.
Last Wednesday, I was finally able to make it to a meeting and then following up on that Skye and I were able to make to the last foraging trip of the year.
So glad, we were able to do both.
I have been fascinated by mushrooms, since I started expanding my culinary horizons at farmer's markets. My interest deepened after I started an ecology class with the home-school community we were part of in Los Angeles. That is when I discovered Paul Stamets as well as mushroom cultivation. I have been obsessed with fungi ever since.
I was fortunate to attend a Paul Stamets lecture at Burning Man.
Luck and good timing shined upon me again because Tom Volk happened to be the guest presenter at the Mushroom Club meeting as well as directing the walk we went on Saturday.
The presentation was pretty intense. There were times when I was a bit overwhelmed with the terms and concepts. I can only imagine how Skye was feeling.
But Volk was quite humorous and engaging. My awe of mushrooms and fungi continues.
We meet up at a private property around an hour north of Atlanta, piled into some pick-up trucks and headed through pastures into the forest.
There are some things I love about being in the woods. The silence or at least the sounds of nature, which was not happening because we were close to some sort of automotive race track. So here we were in the middle of trees with the hum of cars reminding us how close to urbanity we really were.
Yet here we were with around 30 other people thrashing through the leaves and such. What was amazing though was how easily it was to get away and be on our own. Although part of the experience was hooking up with others who shared a passion for mushrooms.
There was shortage of that, to be sure. I felt like less than a novice as members threw out scientific terms and anecdotes of mushroom discoveries.
I had no idea how successful we would be in our first foraging attempt. So at the farmer's market I stocked up on some oyster mushrooms as well as lion's mane.
It's a good thing I did, because we didn't up up with much as in nothing on our mushroom hunt.
Still, it was great being out in the woods and so interesting to be among experts.
A great time with a bunch of fungi.
And with that I'll again share an amazing TED talk with Paul Stamets which inspired me to hunt him down in the middle of the desert on the same day I ran an ultra-marathon.