The wet summer has led to an explosion of mushrooms in the forests. The Downeast Lakes Land Trust was please to sponsor a series of hikes and talks with Greg Marley, a noted amateur mycologist. Participants built skills and confidence in identifying which mushrooms are choice and which are deadly poisonous.
Attendees ranged from experienced to novices. “I had my first chanterelle back when a game warden came to me with a big bag and said, ‘I think these are edible,’” laughed New England Outdoor Center owner Matthew Polstein.
“I drive two miles an hour down the road, always looking,” admitted Sue Whitely, who was returning for a second year, to forage with Greg.
“I didn’t really have the courage to hunt mushrooms myself,” said organic farmer Gretchen Gordon. “I’ve come to realize mushrooms are like berries, you don’t need to know them all to know what a raspberry and a strawberry are, and that you can eat them with confidence.”
Attendees learned about the ecology of mushrooms, their importance to the ecosystem, as well as practical tips on mushroom collection, preparation and preservation. “There are old mushroom hunters, and there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old bold mushroom hunters,” warned Greg. “If you aren’t sure what a mushroom is, take it home, do a spore print, read up on it, but don’t eat anything you aren’t sure about.”
The Downeast Lakes Land Trust in Grand Lake Stream offers numerous free and low-cost educational programs focused on the natural history and heritage of the region. Check our website, or sign up for our e-newsletter Landings so you don’t miss a thing!