‘Tis the season to go shrooming! Autumn is the time of year that all the pine mushrooms pop their heads up on the forest floor, offering a feast of fungi goodness.
But how do you do it? How do you know what to pick and what to avoid? Aha. There are ways, my friends. And here’s two good ones…
Option one: Wild Stories mushroom foraging tours
These are led by our friend and weed-master Diego Bonetto. His tours leave from inner-west Sydney at 7am (you jump on a minibus and off you go) throughout this Autumn.
If you’re a complete mushroom foraging newbie, might we suggest this option as a good one, to turn you into a confident identifier of what and what not to pick. More info here…
Option two: Oberon Visitor’s center
Oberon is a little town about 3 hours from Sydney, over the back of the Blue Mountains. It’s surrounded by state pine forests, and hence, lots of pine mushrooms.
And it just so happens that the Oberon Visitor’s center is filled with super-friendly folk who know lots about mushrooms, and love sharing their knowledge.
The staff there can give you the rundown on saffron milk caps and slipper jacks – and they’ll point you in the direction of where around the local forests to forage. More info here…
** update: Permaculture Sydney North
…also have a mushroom foraging day happening on April 6th, for those happy to get themselves to Blackheath in the Blue Mountains to meet the rest of the group. More info here…
Mushroom hunting is like any other foraging, really. The first time you do it, it’s all a bit confusing and you’re not quite sure if this is the right mushroom, or not.
Which is why getting good advice at the start is a darn fine idea, and a good investment for your family’s foraging future.
Once you’re confident you know what saffron milk caps or slippery jacks look like, however, you’re off and away.
It’s like any wild harvesting: do your research, find out what could go wrong (are there any poisonous lookalikes of the species you’re foraging, and what are those lookalikes’ characteristics that you need to be aware of), and then get going.
As with any and all food gathering, if you’re not sure, don’t eat it.
We learned how to confidently identify saffron milk caps and slippery jacks (two common pine mushrooms in NSW state pine forests) from our mate Paul Ward, and now, we’re mushroom tragics.
Any autumn road trip after rain that takes us past a pine forest will see us stopping here and there, “just for a quick look”. This usually yields a small bag of goodness, and then we’re off to our destination.
Life is better with foraged mushrooms. And its a craft to be passed on, too. Might we recommend you get out there this Autumn, learn to ‘shroom, and add another skill to your family’s foraging backpack.
We run mushroom cultivation courses in Sydney and beyond, for future backyard mushroom growers! If you’re dreaming of adding organic home-grown mushrooms to your family’s diet, have a look at our upcoming courses here…