In the world of farming we spend a great deal of time growing food to sustain ourselves and our communities, but we often forget that all around us there is food growing; free for all people, and in abundance. Foraging for mushrooms is just one of the ways that we can reconnect with nature and the ecosystems that sustain us all.
Myself, Nick and Nate had always wanted to try mushroom picking, but didn't feel knowledgeable enough about species identification to pick safely. Luckily for us, there are mushroom-picking friends in the Golden Ears Farm community! We joined them in late September for an amazing day of foraging in the Shuswap and returned home, the next day, with our baskets full.
What makes foraging so incredibly satisfying, is the way in which it makes you slow down, breathe a bit deeper and see the forest for what it truly is; a rich and diverse habitat, teeming with life. Your senses sharpen as you comb through the woods searching for delicious edible mushrooms, such as chanterelles and admirable boletes, as well as lobster, pine, and honey mushrooms. When you find a beautiful, bright orange lobster mushroom, you can't help but feel a little burst of excitement!
When you forage responsibly, always leaving a few behind, and never taking too much, you establish a connection with nature that can't be grown in the garden or bought at the grocery store. Foraging reminds us that the earth provides for us, and that it is our responsibility to take care of it, so that it can continue to provide for us for generations to come.
Mushroom picking also just happens to be a whole lot of fun and a fantastic excuse to go camping, huddle around a fire with great people, and eat a pan full of your delicious findings.!
Photo credit: Martín Bustamante