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mushroom hunting, cultivation, mycoremediation, and nature journalism
E-mail me: email@example.com
First, a link to a group I’m a member of that is doing awesome myco-related projects in the Bay Area:
Second, a link to a Tree Decomposition project BARM has been working on….thanks to Mino de Angelis for arranging most of it. As a chance to tute my own horn, I helped author this bad boy:
A nice little short about Paul Stamets, “Mushroom Man.” Thanks for the heads up ridewindingrivers!
Your blog makes me want to shake your hand, mr. man with peering eyes, mr. carving who’s camera spies, mr. carving
In this sound clip I talk to Sam Andrasko, president of the San Diego Mycological Society, about an easy way to pasteurize straw before introducing mushroom spawn to it. Enjoy!
Oh boy you betcha! I’ve had success finding tons of mushrooms in that area: Chanterelles, Chicken-of-the-Woods, Porcinis, and a friend found a Pom Pom du Blanc (Lion’s Mane). Keep your eye out for Blewits as well. Yum! These are mostly autumn mushrooms and you might not have any success finding these for awhile. However, a new variety of mushrooms will be popping up when the weather begins to warm up closer to spring. Hope that helps!
Hey Anna, that’s wonderful! Thanks for the heads up…I broadcasted it to a limited audience, so I didn’t really create an RSVP system. You’re welcome to bring all! Look forward to seeing you on the 23rd.
For thousands of years, people have used mushrooms as food, medicine and a gateway to the divine. Why do some people love mushrooms? It’s hard to say, but it seems to be more than a rational interest; there is something enchanting about the fruiting fungi. The wild mushroom hunter feels a…
Love it. Anna rocks! I met her at the Telluride Mushroom Festival, 2011.
This weekend, December 1 and 2, is the Mycological Society of San Francisco’s annual Fungus Fair. The fair is taking place between 10am and 5pm both days at the Lawrence Hall of Science in the UC Berkeley campus.
On Sunday between 10am and 1:30pm I’ll be sitting at the Bay Area Radical Mycology booth to talk about some projects we’re working on with the East Bay Municipal Utility District (exciting times!) for filtering water with mushroom spawn, and using mycelium to accelerate the decomposition of fallen trees. We’ll also be talking about what it means to be part of a “Radical Mycology” group.
If you’re in the bay area, I’d love to meet you to discuss anything mushrooms. Fungus Fairs are the coolest events to learn about all different sorts of species and new things people are doing with mushrooms. There are tons of activities to enjoy as well as books and merchandise being sold. You’ll meet an amazingly eclectic mix of people, too! Bring any species of mushrooms you’re unsure of to have them identified.
Hope to see you there!
mushroomjoe, November 30, 2012
Oh boy, your questions deserve a big response! I’m not sure if you intend to grow them in a fish tank for visual stimulation or for culinary purposes. Either way, mushrooms aren’t like plants or coral where you can pot them and watch them grow for years. Instead, mushrooms are ephemeral. After they have “flushed,” they tend not to grow again unless they’re given more food to consume.
Unfortunately, I currently don’t have the time to outline the entire process and add some artistry, because I’m tied up with other mushroom-related projects. However, I’m glad you brought up your interest in learning about cultivation processes because adding lessons on mushroom cultivation to mushroomjoe.com is on the horizon (written and video). Aside from doodling at work, I’m not a great artist, so I could definitely do this project with the help of some more talented artists (ahem, call-out to the tumblr community!)
In the mean time, I have several resources for you: as far as books go, the one I most recommend is “Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms” by Paul Stamets. I found this book to be the most up-to-date, comprehensive, and down-to-earth.
shroomery.org is one of my favorite resources available. For one, it’s entirely free. It has tons of guides available, it has a message board filled with experienced cultivators that can help you through your cultivation problems, and it has many specific categories, such as this one, that are dedicated to cultivation. I recommend you spend some time reading the introductory pages and searching forum threads until you’re familiar with jargon and basic processes.
Here’s an online link for some free mushroom growing guides: http://www.alohamedicinals.com/culture-supplies.htm#.UK1S-uQ72Ag Scroll toward the bottom and you’ll see two free guides. They may not be as laymen/user-friendly as the other books, but they are free!
There are many different approaches to cultivating mushrooms. You could start with spores you’ve collected from a mushroom, or you could skip all those steps and buy spawn from a company and have oyster mushrooms growing in a couple weeks. It just depends on the level of mastery you want to attain.
Hope that was some help. If you e-mail me further (firstname.lastname@example.org) with more detailed questions, I could possibly be of more help.
Mycoporn: On a hike in the hills east of Berkeley, a couple members of Bay Area Radical Mycology and I discovered these kind beings growing from cow dung. Stropharia semiglobata has a few look alikes that also grow from cow pies, but these were singled out by their purple spore print, presence of a fragile veil, and glossy cap, to name a few.
As a member of the Strophariaceae family, they are very similar to their Psilocybe cousins, with a similar spore color but lacking any blue staining. Stropharia semiglobata is not known to be hallucinogenic.
(Orinda, California, November 13, 2012)
Mycoporn: A glorious display by a member of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the poisonous, but oh-so-glamorous, Agaricus praeclaresquamosus, the boxy Agaricus. Because the park is regularly irrigated, there are early fruitings of many grassland mushrooms. This was a wonderful and welcoming find, and was initially mistaken as the delicious Prince Mushroom, Agaricus augustus. Some basic differences for the Prince Mushroom include a browner cap and a shaggy stalk, as well as springtime fruiting. This boxy Agaricus was much grayer and exhibited a smooth stalk.
(Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, November 9, 2012)
Mycoporn: A surprising find of delicious chicken-of-the-woods, Laetiporus sulphureus with steepravine (Cam) out in Samuel Taylor State Park in Marin County north of San Francisco. The weather was comfortably warm, a great respite from the northern cold I’ve been in for the last year :). Until we ran into this beauty, we were bummed not to find anything. But alas, it’s just the precursor to a bountiful season! I cut out some smaller, younger specimens, sauteed and deglazed them, and added them to my scrambled eggs. Yumber!
(Samual Taylor State Park, Marin County, California, October 27, 2012)
I met Alex Milan Tracy at the Radical Mycology Convergence 2012 last week. He was documenting the event. This is a great short he put together which sums up the experience quite well. I’m also interviewed toward the end (heehee!) Enjoy!
Tues, Oct 23, 2012, reflections on the event: Hey myco-folk! I’ve just returned from the Radical Mycology Convergence in Port Townsend, WA and am hanging out in Seattle drinking coffee. I’ll be back in California later today to soak in the warm San Francisco culture.
First off, what was the Radical Mycology Convergence? Over two hundred myco-minded individuals congregated to the northeastern point of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula for a five day conference in Port Townsend to discuss mycology, remediation, and ecology. Visitors from coast to coast shared knowledge in mushroom cultivation, bioremediation, farming, medicinal mushrooms, event organization, and many other stimulating subjects! This was the second annual Radical Mycology Convergence, and the organizers are interested in expanding next year’s convergence to cater to a larger number of individuals. The location is yet to be decided.
Port Townsend was cold and sometimes wet, but spirits were high and excited. The cost for attendees was based on a sliding scale. Attending the event did not require paying a specific fee, and the organizers asked only for a donation of $10-50.
(Attendees wait in line for mid-day lunch break. Yummy food was provided three times a day for all attendees)
One of the intentions of the convergence was to empower and educate other individuals who are interested in creating their own convergence or mycology group in other parts of the country. Using a mycological metaphor, we became spores of knowledge intending to spread across the land and establish our own mycelial networks.
The Radical Mycology Convergence was a complete success, and from talking to the organizers, I’m convinced they felt the same way. I want to thank the organizers and all the presenters for assisting me with my recordings of the RMC workshops and with impromptu interviews. The organizers established a place for all of us to camp, fed us hot, healthy food at least three times a day, and provided yerba mate, coffee, and gallons of mushroom tea!
To all those with whom I shared a connection, I hope to see you blossom in your future. Please contact me: email@example.com and spread that mycelial network.
Personal notes: I was surprised at the amount of people who were interested in a resource for further documentation of events like these. I hope my audio and video documentation can be an endless resource for all who attended and for those who could not attend. Because of the number of workshops held at RMC2012, several workshops were held at one time. I did my best to record the workshops which I felt both piqued my visitors’ interests, and as a springboard for my own future investigations and endeavors.
Here is a quick list of workshops and interviews I documented:
On what I learned: I’ve always felt the community of myco-minded folk are the most eclectic, diverse, interesting, and intellectual of all communities of which I’ve been a part. These feelings concerning this community were confirmed after this event. RMC2012 drew together scientists working on their doctorates, curious-minded folk just out of high school, urban foragers, college students working toward a more environmentally friendly future, and urban and rural farmers, young and senior, to name a few. Everyone connected and gained from one another. The mycology community is extremely generous, and I want to thank everyone for their endless hospitality and generosity.
I also learned that understanding mycology is just a small, itty-bitty piece of a much larger puzzle toward understanding our natural world, and especially understanding bioremediation. After RMC2012, I’m interested in learning more about bacteria, soil, composting, and a host of other branches that belong to the larger ecological issues. The presentation I documented on bioremediation by Leila Darwish will reveal a more extended list of skills and knowledge to be gained.
On a separate, but related endeavor: Another subject that came up during RMC2012 was the need for a central online location of documenting hands-on do-it-yourself bioremediation techniques, case studies and anecdotes of the effects of medicinal mushrooms, and an index and central resource for remediation and cultivation techniques, and a wiki to boot. I’m excited to be part of a project which will hopefully become an invaluable resource for earth-friendly folk across our planet.
Cultivating mushrooms from waste: In this series of photos, I show the effects of combining Oyster Mushroom spawn with available organic waste such as cardboard, coffee grounds, and wood chips. Without using a regulated growing environment, I was able to grow delicious Oyster Mushrooms just a couple weeks after I introduced the spawn to the moistened substrate. I had tasty food growing for weeks!
(May 2011, San Diego, California)