On the last day of August, Louis Giller of North Spore Mushroom Company joined a group of eager foragers at Bradley Pond Farm Preserve. Louis started the program by introducing three different types of edible wild mushrooms that we should look for in the forest: chicken of the woods, chanterelles, and black trumpets. He talked about look-alike mushrooms that may be dangerous and responsible foraging techniques. Collecting and eating wild mushrooms is not to be taken lightly!
Before setting off on the trail, Louis made sure to remind participants of the Leave No Trace principles, something that all foragers should remember when walking through the woods. Although a few of them didn’t apply to the foray (I hoped we wouldn’t need a fire…), it doesn’t hurt to refresh on the rules of the wild!
- Plan ahead and prepare.
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
- Dispose of waste properly.
- Leave what you find.
- Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).
- Respect wildlife.
- Be considerate of other visitors.
We started out hoping to cover the Upper Loop Trail and the Perimeter Trail, although with so much wandering around, it became clear shortly after setting out that we would not be able to cover that much ground. Looking so deeply at each square foot of forest takes a lot of time!
And take our time, we did. We looked at every bit of the ground, hoping for bright orange colors (of chicken of the woods and chanterelles) and dark black or brown (black trumpets). Although we came up short in chicken of the woods and black trumpets, we found a few beautiful patches of chanterelles. Although we weren’t searching for them, we found some old man of the woods, another edible mushroom.
The dry weather over the last couple weeks stunted the typical mushroom-boom of late-summer, but we still had a great time learning from Louis and we all left with a big handful of oyster mushrooms provided by our friends at North Spore.
Thank you, Louis!