|An autumn bounty of edibles, honeys, puffballs both large and small, chicken, winecaps, and parasols.|
2015 will be our fourth year participating in the Denison Pequotsepos Wild Mushroom Festival in Mystic, CT. Our club, CVMS, hunts in surrounding locations and transports our fungal finds to the nature center to display and discuss with the patrons who pay to attend the event. Members of CVMS don't get paid for this, we are educators and volunteers, and the nature center benefits from the admission price. Several local restaurants also attend, with mushroom-based nibbles (including a candy cap ice cream, which tastes like maple!), and there are mushroom items for sale by the nature center. A band plays, kids run around the woods, and there are free walks and talks on site for attendees, as well as informative slide shows.
|A festival favorite, Grifola frondosa, maitake|
This year, we are giving a slide show and discussion on Seasonal Wild Edible Mushrooms of Connecticut at 2:00 PM, inside the nature center. While some in the mycological community consider pot-hunters the lowest rung of the mushroom enthusiast ladder, well below amateur identifiers, fungal remediators, cultivators, and true mycologists, we are proud mycophagists, meaning we love to cook with our wild mushroom finds.
|Crispy baked ravioli with goat cheese and maitake filling, coated with crumbs and garlic mustard seeds|
This will be another event in our growing list of presentations and workshops. We enjoy sharing our knowledge of wild fungi and wild edible plants, nuts, roots, and berries with interested people who are willing to learn what to identify and eat, and how to do so in a sustainable manner. We truly feel we would prefer to teach 100 people how to responsibly collect and enjoy wild foods for themselves, rather than see one person go into the woods and unsustainably and greedily collect all of the wild food to sell at a personal profit to restaurants and in farmer's markets to 100 people. We support our philosophy by partnering with local nature centers, garden clubs, libraries, and youth groups and giving walks, slide shows, and presentations for reasonable fees. It is during these programs that we are able to discuss sustainability and respect for the environment, and hopefully inspire a new generation of kids and adults to be amazed by the wonder of our local wild plants and fungi, and their conservation for the future.