Sunday, August 16, 2009

Walking with the Western PA Mushroom Club


Today Dave, Ella and I did something new: we went for a hike with the Western PA Mushroom Club!

Our two day camping trip to Raccoon Creek State Park prompted our interest in mushrooms. While there to get a glimpse of the Perseid Meteor Shower away from the city lights, we noticed an abundance of mushrooms! We stopped in to the nature center at the Wildflower Reserve, and the woman brought us out some great books on mushrooms that we poured over.

One thing we learned was that although mushrooms can be extremely dangerous and deadly, not to be afraid to dig them up and take a look at them. (I have always been too afraid to even touch anything!)

So we took pictures, took notes, went back to the books and found a huge amount of interesting information! By observation, I noticed some mushrooms had “gills” and others “pores.” When we returned to town we looked up the Mushroom Club, found that they walk just about every Saturday morning from spring through November, and so we set out with them today.

Mushroom Hatching from an "egg".
Many Amanitas are deadly poisonous, and some people just avoided them.

Old Man of The Woods, edible, turns black when picking (we did not eat yet)

Chanterelle Harvest (edible!)

Identifying the mushrooms after the walk

The exciting thing was the harvest of tasty chanterelles! Look for our entry on them coming soon on Food Under Foot!

A few good books we found for identifying mushrooms are
North American Mushrooms: A Field Guide to Edible and Inedible Fungi , and National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms.

Visit our store for all our book recommendations!

Please check out Food Under Foot for future entries on how we prepared the chanterelles, Old Man of the Woods, and other mushroom adventures.

Mushrooms are powerful medicine so check back here for entries on there healing qualities.


Melissa and Dave

Birch Center for Health

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