I Went on a Mushroom Trip – A Foraging Trip, that is.

Earlier this month I visited my mother in a small town in northern New Brunswick, and I always notice a wide variety of mushrooms all over her property. I thought it would be fantastic if there were someone I could ask about which types were edible, but it’s such a small town of mostly retirees that I didn’t even bother looking.

Imagine my delight when I went to the little town Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning and found a man selling foraged mushrooms and wild herbs at his stall. Wonderful! I asked if he did tours. He said he did, but he was a little reluctant to do one in English, since he was most familiar with the names in French, but I really didn’t care. He would take me around the woods for a few hours and he would keep most of the mushrooms we found to sell, but I would go home with enough for a tasty dinner. Sounded fantastic to me!

The next weekend I drove to Quebec and met Rosaire at a Tourist Information stop. First, I showed him some mushrooms I had brought from my mom’s property, and I was happy to find that some were edible. Fortunately, I kept each variety separated from the others so that if I found that some were edible, I could eat them without worrying that they got poison cooties from the other types.

puffball via farmpunk.ca

^ This is a puffball, the most plentiful edible variety at my Mom’s. It’s edible, but Rosaire said this kind isn’t any good and has no value. Funny. . .it was my favourite.

underground farmpunkadvocate

^ One of the ediblie ones in Mom’s yard. This one was interesting because it was mostly underground.

crackle farmpunkadvocate

^ Another one of the same kind that has a lot of “meat” underground.

roots farmpunkadvocate

^ This is what was below the surface that I couldn’t see until I started digging.

mushroom farmpunkadvocate

^ This is a shaggy ink cap. It is edible, but doesn’t taste like much, and doesn’t store well.

On with the tour! We went in Rosaire’s car where he had a hot tisane waiting for me made from a blend of herbs and flowers he foraged, and we went out to his secret spots in the woods. Don’t ask me where they are. I wasn’t driving, and I probably wouldn’t tell you anyway.

He brought baskets, retractable knives and a paintbrush. We cut the mushrooms with the knives and peeled off the dirty parts of each one before adding it to the basket. The paintbrush is for brushing off any loose dirt. Rosaire likes to clean them as he collects them because otherwise it’s a really big job at the end.

Before I show you all the cool mushrooms we found, I want to clarify that I’m not an expert so please don’t go rummaging around in the woods collecting mushrooms without consulting an expert. Some poisonous varieties look a lot like edible varieties, but I’m sure you already knew that. I had a great time on my mushroom tour and I highly recommend that you hire an expert to get started. It’s absolutely worth it.

chanterelles farmpunkadvocate

^ The first mushroom we foraged for was chanterelles. I’d never seen chanterelles growing in the woods before, and they are very beautiful, like big cheery flowers on the forest floor.

chanterelles 2 farmpunkadvocate

^ We found three kinds, but I’m still sort of fuzzy on the difference. One important thing I learned was that if the gills are deep and break easily, they are not chanterelles. The gills should be shallow.

basket farmpunkadvocate

^ This is what we collected on our first stop or the afternoon. Only about 10 minutes of work.

basket of mushrooms farmpunkadvocate

^ This what I got to take home at the end of the day. From top left: Boletes, Puffball, Shaggy Ink Cap, Lobster mushroom, I don’t know the one in the bottom right, a big brown Bolete, Trumpet Chanterelles (the yellow tubes), more Boletes, and the one in the top centre is called Sweet Tooth. I also don’t know the one on the bottom left – we only found that many.

lobster farmpunkadvocate

^ This is a very big lobster mushroom. Rosaire was quite excited to find it, I heard him exclaim when he saw it, and then he left it alone so I could “discover” it, too. He guessed it weighed about a kilo. Lobster mushrooms are very dense and heavy.

lobster mushroom farmpunkadvocate

^ The other side of the same mushroom.

lobster mushrooms via farmpunk.ca

^ A couple more lobster mushrooms. Most of them were this size – not monsters like the first one.

plate of wild mushrooms via farmpunk.ca

^ This was my yummy dinner at the end of the day.

close-up of wild mushrooms farmpunk.ca

^ I wanted to get the most out of the various mushroomy flavours, so I didn’t add anything else. They’re just lightly sauteed.

do not eat farmpunkadvocate

Do NOT eat this one! There are lots of these in my mother’s yard, and they are very pretty and add a fairy tale ambience to the woods, but they are very poisonous. I just wanted to throw this in because it’s pretty.

I hope I’ve encouraged you to learn about mushrooms, but please consult an expert. There might be a mycological society in your area that can help you. The Nova Scotia Mycological Society holds an annual Foray with workshops and tours, which, coincidentally, starts today. Sorry you missed it. Keep them on your radar for next year.

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1 Response

  1. Sharon Sullivan says:

    Surprising what neat discoveries you can make in tiny places… :-)

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