Wild Mushroom Show

How to have fun in the forest

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Although Erin Moore is fond of eating and identifying mushrooms, the longtime Northwest Mushroomers Association member says the thrill of the chase is what keeps her coming back for more.

“I love the hunt, and I love to be in the woods,” Moore says. “When foraging for mushrooms, you are moving slowly and looking carefully, so you see more than mushrooms. Once I was so intent on searching for morels, a deer and I came within three feet of each other before either of us noticed! Those moments are magic.”

Along with fellow members of the longtime mushroom club, Moore will be on hand Sun., Oct. 20 to share the magic—and her know-how—with the general public at the group’s Wild Mushroom Show at the Bloedel Donovan Community Building.

In addition to helping identify fungi people bring in from their backyards or other outdoor explorations, the annual event also features a “touch and feel” table, tastes of savory (and safe) wild mushrooms, talks by local experts and surprise guests, kits for growing your own at home, an activity table for kids, and mushroom guides and tomes that will be available for purchase. (For those without any previous mushrooming experience, Moore suggests picking up a copy of a starter book called All the Rain Promises and More.)

Speaking of the wet stuff, Moore notes that it’s vital to having a mushroom year that’s as stellar as this year’s is turning out to be.

“We had lots of rain in August—usually one of our driest months, yet also the warmest,” she says. “Mushrooms love moisture—they are 90 percent water, after all—but they also love warmth. Forests are the other part of the story. The trees in our forests this year had ample energy in store for their mushrooms, and the mushrooms, which had laid low ‘waiting’ for good conditions for the last few years, were ‘hungry’ and ready to fruit. When the rains came, they asked, and received, from their tree partners.”

Because this year’s serendipitous weather is resulting in prime mushroom hunting, Moore and her fungi friends will also fill attendees at the Wild Mushroom Show in on how to stay safe in the forest, and also tips on how to ensure you’re finding what you came for.

“I use the same method horseback riders use—soft eyes,” Moore says. “But foraging involves all the senses, including a built-in moisture meter. A lot of knowing where to go comes from accumulated forest time, but trust to serendipity and be prepared to wander. I especially love to hunt in older forests with their carpets of moss. The mushrooms stand out like jewels.

“Also, bring your compass and whistle. It’s easy to get lost in the woods.”

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