This immersive wilderness learning experience consists of a 90-minute classroom style presentation covering everything you need to know to safely and sustainably forage for wild edible mushrooms. The seminar is followed by a hike into the forest where participants put the skills they’ve just learned directly into practice, identifying whatever wild mushrooms they come across. There’s always time for questions and conversation, and usually some cool people and a bunch of laughs!
There are thousands of species of mushrooms in eastern North America, many of which you can find all across Ontario. Some have strange alien-looking shapes that don’t resemble the mushrooms you find in the grocery store at all. Some look like heads of cauliflower, some like beautiful corals you’d find under the sea, others like soccer balls, bird’s feathers, or dangling icicles that hang from tree trunks, or that burst up from the forest floor.
Wild mushrooms have curious folk names like “Dead Man’s Fingers”, “Shaggy Mane”, “Witch’s Butter”, and “Bear’s Head Tooth”; but their scientific names are far more accurate and important. Some turn colours when they’re cut or bruised, others smell like common fruits, taste acrid or bitter, or even glow in the dark at night. Many wild mushrooms are delicious; others are toxic. Most are unpalatable, flavourless, or too tough to eat. A few are even deadly. But how do you know which is which?
As the wise saying goes: “There are old mushroom hunters, and there are bold mushroom hunters… but there are NO old, bold mushroom hunters!”. With a few simple steps and rules, avid outdoorsman and forager Stephan Lukacic will start you down the rewarding path towards being able to safely recognize and locate wild edible mushrooms in the forest, and in many cases, right in your own backyard or local park when you get back home!
*Note: this experience focuses on teaching you how to find and safely identify wild edible mushrooms. This is not a standard (boring!) foraging walk where a guide identifies mushrooms for you, which you then take home—having learned very little about how and why those mushrooms are safe to eat, where they like to grow, or how to properly harvest them! This short, intensive “course” is designed to demystify wild mushrooms—giving you a solid foundation on which to build foraging skills.