The Saratoga Sun -

Full for Fungi

Saratoga branch library meeting room full for mushroom hunting talk


Keith McLendon

Thirty-four people showed up to the Fun with Fungi talk given at the Saratoga Branch Library Tuesday.

The Saratoga Friends of the Library and Saratoga Community Garden co-sponsored "Fungi Fun," a presentation by Saratoga local Susan Marich at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 23 at the Saratoga public library.

About 34 people filled the meeting room of the library for the presentation as Marich began her slide presentation by telling of the importance of having the correct gear to take hiking and then launched into a talk about knowing not only what mushrooms a person is looking for, but also what local flora the fungi are growing next to.

Marich then showed several slides which showed similar mushrooms side by side. Marich then asked the crowd if they knew the difference between the benign mushrooms and the poisonous ones-giving the correct answer after each slide.

Marich gave descriptors of several of her favorite mushrooms and showed photos depicting how large some of the mushrooms grow to. Some of the photos showed mushrooms the size of a backpack.

Marich also informed the assembled that picking mushrooms on the national forest requires a permit, which is free to obtain.

The talk covered how to tell different mushrooms apart and included whether a particular species had gills or porous bottoms, what stem and cap shapes indicate and what color spores can tell a person as to a fungi's edibility.

Marich stressed that it was important to look at books about mushrooms which cover a particular area and taking a knowledgeable person to begin mushroom hunting.

Keith McLendon

Susan Marich shows off one of her homegrown mushrooms Tuesday night.

In the second part of the hour and a half presentation, Marich discussed how to grow homegrown mushrooms and showed the crowd several different bags she had which were sprouting different varieties of fungi. Marich also shared websites where she had gotten spores and how to prepare medium for growing. She also described a mutli-layer "lasagna" bed she had created at her home using cardboard, horse manure, soil, hardwood chips and straw to grow Garden Giant King Stropharia.

The talk also included ways to prepare and store mushrooms.

When asked if she would consider leading a hike to find mushrooms, Marich joked that it was kind of like deer or elk hunting in that she didn't want to show everyone her good mushroom hunting spots. Later, she said she would consider an identification hike if there was interest.

After the talk, attendees looked at the samples Marich had brought and asked questions of the presenter as they indulged in the various drinks and goodies provided for the event.


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