Our Mendocino mushroom season is in full swing just in time for the Mendocino Wine and Mushroom Festival.
Mendocino County is a hot spot for wild mushrooms. In the fall of 2007, a couple of our mountain biking friends gave the wild mushroom hunting bug to Jeff and I. We started learning the most common and easily identifiable choice edibles - hedgehogs and chantrelles.
In the fall of 2008, we were paddling the Noyo River and admiring the wild mushrooms when the idea of hosting mushroom paddles was born. We had been learning more about wild mushrooms by going on mushroom walks at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. We thought it would be fun to share our knowledge of mushrooms, kayaking, and the Noyo River.
We continued going on Mushroom walks and learning from our friends. For Christmas, Jeff got me David Arora's books Mushrooms Demystified and All that Rain Promises. I couldn't put the books down and ended up taking a semester course in at College of the Redwoods on Mushrooms of the North Coast. When mushroom season hits, our house became a science lab with counters and walls decorated with spore prints and drying samples. Most meals involve fresh mushrooms from the forest.
We are now heading into our 3rd fall of Mushroom Paddles on the Noyo River. We don't consider ourselves experts, but we sure do know a lot about our local wild mushrooms. Our tours have evolved into an on land mushroom ecology and identification lesson followed by a paddle on the river looking for wild mushrooms and enjoying fall scenery and migratory birds.
Each year has show us different weather patterns and different mushrooms on the Noyo. What mushrooms will we find on the river this year? Mushroom Paddles are November 5,6, and 12 so we will soon see.