How to collect Mushrooms for the Festival

CMS members and LCC students collect mushrooms for the display at the Mount Pisgah Arboretum Mushroom Festival.   CMS organizes several field trips starting the weekend prior to the festival. Collecting for the Mushroom Festival is very different than foraging for edible mushrooms.  You may have the opportunity to harvest a few edibles, but the primary purpose will be to collect the widest diversity of mushroom species we can find. If you have never collected for the Mushroom Festival Display you are in for a treat.  You will see and collect mushrooms that you may have never noticed before, and you will be amazed at the diversity!

CMS members receive email invitations to register for the CMS field trips to collect mushrooms for the festival.  If you would like to attend one of these field trips, please become a CMS Member (membership starts at $15).  If you plan on going out on your own, below are some guidelines to help you collect so that your mushrooms will be usable for the display.

wax bags
  • A personal use mushroom permit is required to collect in some areas.  Please check the CMS Permit Page for requirements.
  • Wax paper bags, available at many grocery stores are great for collecting. They will keep multiple specimens together and separate from other specimens. You can also write notes on the outside of the wax bag with a permanent marker; to help with identification. If you think you know the mushroom genus and/or species, write it on the wax bag.  If you don’t know the mushroom type, it is nice to have habitat information; such as on dead conifer log, near spruce trees etc.
  • For smaller mushrooms a divided plastic container is ideal.
  • When you are out collecting and you find a group of like mushrooms; try to bring back mushrooms of the same type that are at varying ages. This helps both with the identification and for people to see the variations at different stages of growth.
  • Please do not cut mushrooms. Try to extract them completely, and place in a wax bag. You may even want to use a small trowel rather than a knife. No need to clean off the base. Please replace/repair ground divots/damage you create when extracting. 
  • Place all mushrooms collected from the same location (e.g. Coast dunes, high Cascades) into a box and place a note in the box to state where they were found. If you have elevation information, include that also. 
  • The later in the week you collect, prior to setup day on Saturday, the fresher your mushrooms will be for the display.  You should store your mushrooms outside in a box in a shaded cool place until you can drop them off at Mount Pisgah on Saturday morning (between 9 am and noon). If you have something you think is really spectacular or unusual and you want to keep it extra protected, put it in a brown bag in your refrigerator until Saturday morning.