Friday, April 1, 2011

Far Out: Mushroom Foraging Month!

Posted by Amy Baranski

Welcome to April everyone! Last night in my dream I was talking to Jamie, getting his advice on removing and replacing the old-lady contact paper that covers our hallway walls and ceiling. As we were discussing the recent trendiness of wall paper we saw a giant mushroom growing out of the wall. Everyone was amazed. Then I decided to touch it. It became separated from the wall and slowly deflated. I hope this is not a foreshadowing of the month as I am so excited to explore the world of mushroom foraging.

We've begun our adventures into this mystical magical world by joining the Puget Sound Mycologial Society (PSMS). They use a Yahoo group, so I get a daily member's e-digest that covers topics such as whether this guy should or should not eat the Agaricus augustus that come up in his yard. He lives in near the Asarco Smelter in Tacoma, one of the Superfund Cleanup sites. The safe answer was probably not. Apparently the mushroom genus Agaricus (and apparently others) concentrate heavy metals. Latin I love you.

Next Thursday, Melissa and I will start a four week Beginner's Mushroom Identification Class sponsored by PSMS at the Center for Urban Horticulture (one of my favorite places on the Seattle planet). This should give us a good foundation for identifying mushrooms (including those toxic ones), along with basics on mushroom hunting and common mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest (PNW). We're supposed to try and bring mushrooms to every class so we'd better be on the lookout this weekend.

The PSMS also organizes field trips for members, and there are a few happening this Spring. I'm excited to meet some new (and undoubtedly interesting) friends/people and to get out in the woods. Also on the menu this month will be a lot of funky. I meant fungi. That was weird. Anyway, I checked out  Mushroom Cookbook by Mimi Broudeur from the Seattle Public Library. Since I'm a Mimi to my favorite littlest person I had to check it out. Tonight I will try to make Chicken Mushroom Fajitas! Off to the store, but before I go I wanted to leave you with this far out TED talk by Paul Stamets. Get that mushroom cloud out of your head and behold the power of Mycelium:

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