2023 Mount Pisgah Mushroom Festival
Leading up to the festival CMS was happy to be welcome back the legendary David Arora. David is the author of what most west coast mycologists and mushroom foragers know as the Mushroom Bible, “Mushrooms Demystified”. And, the most popular beginner mushroom field guide, “All that the Rain Promises”. See for yourself in this article titled Best selling mushroom books of all time. David spoke to a packed house at the Lane Event Center on Friday evening prior to the festival on Sunday
Over 40 years and still going strong! The Mount Pisgah Arboretum (MPA) Mushroom Festival is thought to be the largest on the west coast. Perhaps because it truly is a festival! Many PNW Mushroom clubs/societies have an annual “mushroom show”, primarily consisting of a mushroom display. Some also have a few mushroom vendors, classes/workshops, and mushrooms walks. However, the MPA mushroom festival is a little different, as CMS is very fortunate to partner with the MPA and Lane Community College (LCC). MPA takes care of the festival aspect by providing live music, food vendors, hayrides, a large arts and crafts vendor area, fresh pressed hot cider, and a scarecrow contest. While CMS and LCC provides the Main mushroom display, Fun Fungal Facts, Medicinal Mushrooms, Dyeing with mushrooms, the Edible and Poisonous Tent, the Expert ID table, and Talks on the Terrace. We also help with the guided nature walks.
Drumroll for the Mushroom Display Statistics
And, a few pictures …
It all starts early Saturday Morning
Erin Brown arrives with mushrooms
Aryanna and Peg searching through Mushroom cards
Susie and Ron consult about a mushroom
Matthew Johnson hangs a sign
It’s Festival Time!
Children crafting, thank you to MPA staff and volunteers
Lee Yamada and Peg Boulay in Edible & Poisonous Tent
Melany Kahn cooking up some Chanterelles to taste
The Mushroom Display
Fun Fungal Facts
Susie, Ron, and Noah at the Expert ID table
Eugena, Hong, Sandy, and Erin
A Thank you to our Identifiers and LCC Students
CMS welcomed back Expert Identifiers Steve Trudell, author of Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest, and Efrén Cázares co-author of Ramaria of the NPW to identify mushrooms gathered for the display. Plus, several of our local club members helped with identification of the more common mushrooms and those that can be identified without the use of a microscope. A mushroom is not placed on the display until it is identified to species (or group/complex). And, as always students from the Lane Community College Biology of Mushroom class were on hand Saturday to help setup the display.
On Sunday Steve Trudell and Noah Siegel were at the Expert ID table which was back inside the White Oak Pavilion (next to the large mushroom display). Festival goers were able to bring in mushrooms to be identified, or they could just have the opportunity to chat with the authors of two very popular PNW Mushroom Field Guides.
A Special Shout Out to Melany Kahn
The Talks on the Terrace was back in a big way this year. Melany Kahn, author of a children’s book titled “Mason Goes Mushrooming” was on the terrace area all day. In addition to short presentations, book readings, and cooking demos throughout the day; parents and children were be able to actively participate in mushroom educational activities and crafts. The MPA educational staff and volunteers staffed tables for making clay mushrooms, painting mushrooms, and mushroom stamps.
Melany Kahn started hunting for mushrooms in Vermont in 1968 when her family bought a farm in West Brattleboro. For the last 22 years she has taught children how to forage for wild mushrooms. She is a member of the Education Committee for the North American Mycological Association Board (NAMA), and a Board Member of the Monadnock Mushroomers Unlimited, her local NH mushroom club. She attended Wesleyan University, (BA, English/Creative Writing). She holds a Masters in Social Work from Boston College, and an MFA in Film from The Tisch School at NYU where she met her illustration collaborator, Ellen Korbonski. Melany lives in New Hampshire and Vermont with her husband and children, a dog, 3 cats and 17 chickens. She and her husband co-own The Porch Cafe in Brattleboro. You can find her leading mushroom walks or foraging at every opportunity. Mason Goes Mushrooming is her first book.
You can view Melany’s TED talk titled “You’re never too young to learn or too old to start foraging” here.
Also, a big thank you to Hong Bui, Dylan Eckert, and Rob Morris who were kind enough to take Melany to the woods for some PNW shroomin’ on Saturday prior to the festival.
A few thoughts from our President and Chief Volunteers
Chris Melotti (CMS President) – My sincere thanks to Peg and Bruce for being the CMS coordinators of the mushroom displays and to all the CMS volunteers, field trip leaders, and collectors; to Sandy for everything you do; to Eugena, Erin and all the CMS volunteers in the CMS booth; to Susie for everything you do to keep LCC and the students of the biology of mushrooms classes involved in the festival; and finally to Brad, August, B and all the MPA staff and volunteers for making the 42 annual mushroom festival a wonderful event for all.
Bruce Newhouse (CMS Display co-coordinator with Peg Boulay) – Show count by Peg and I was 362. That number always changes a bit when I cross-check our list with the labels we picked up, and look up a few things in a few places and email Steve and Noah a few times!
Sales Booth (CMS Treasurer Eugena Mathiason) – Total gross sales were $5,254.00 !! After subtracting our costs, our net proceeds from the sale were $3,146.85! Note: This is the 3rd year in a row that we have had gross sales of over $5000. And a big thanks to David Pilz of OSU for donating the very popular Myco bandanas. Note: CMS Board Members Eugena Mathiason and Erin Brown did a fabulous job of cashiering for the CMS booth all day!
Susie Holmes (Lane Community College) – Thanks to all of you who make everything work so well for the students! I had several thank me for the experience and one who actually said “I think I found my people”. I told her that I know what that’s like! It’s such a pleasure working with you all!
2023 Mushroom Show Mycoblitz
Below are all of the pertinent stats for the 4th annual Mushroom Show Mycoblitz. Thank you to the CMS MLCO taxonomy team members Bruce Newhouse & Susie Holmes who organized and monitored the event.
Also thank you to the many CMS members and others who participated in making observations on iNaturalist, and also those that helped with the identification of the observations posted.
First, a look back. The September and early October rains definitely made a difference.
Our Star Identifiers
We love having the observations, but what we treasure even more are those that are willing to spend time looking at pictures and identifying what is found on iNaturalist. This is the 2nd year in a row that August Jackson takes the stop spot. August is both a CMS member and is on the staff of the Mount Pisgah Arboretum.