Mycologist David Campbell warned “With mushrooms, there’s no intuition that tells you what you can eat. Pretty mushrooms may be dangerous, and ugly ones delicious.” And so began the wild mushroom forage through Las Posadas Forest. The groups forked off, some with mycologists David Campbell and Stephanie Jarvis and others led by Dr. Paul Thomas to a site to find matusake mushrooms.
People spread out through the woods, past stumps, under trees, searching piles of humus for shrumps, or mounds that indicated mushrooms might be there. While there was the potential for toothsome varieties like chanterelles, matusake, black trumpets and hedgehogs, mostly, we found a colorful mix of mushrooms that aren’t eaten.
Truffle dogs, Lolo and Rico, accompanied us, nose to the ground, they zig-zagged through the woods. Then Lolo started digging furiously, and her owner Alana McGee ran to see what she was digging. Lolo had found a native truffle! It was very small and had a slight medicinal and pineapply scent to it.
The final haul was a mix of edible and non, fresh and spent, bright red, purpled hued and dull brown. If anything was learned on the hunt is that mushrooms are a vast, fascinating fruit of the forest.