Events + Workshops

ForageCast: Back in the Ramp Patch

© Eve Event Photography

As I walked the woods today with family and friends, spring was everywhere. Northern Vermont’s soils, frozen five feet deep in March, are bursting with new growth. Thousands of trout lilies poked out of the saturated soil. Trilliums, already bearing white buds, brushed up against blue cohosh and tangy wood sorrel.

The ramp ritual, my favorite sign of spring, is upon us once again. Today I checked an old patch and found carpets of wild alliums soaking up their fleeting share of sunlight. I picked just a handful of greens, knowing the plants will quickly double in size. That handful was more than enough to elevate tonight’s dinner. Pungent and earthy, the ramps were divine atop melted cheddar on toast.

Meanwhile, morels are pushing their way into Pennsylvania and creeping closer to New York. Spring is behind schedule this year, so Vermont foragers will need to hang tight for another few weeks before morel madness gets underway. In the mean time, we can drool over photos of juicy yellows on the Missouri Mycological Society Facebook page.

2015 promises to be our most exciting workshop and foray season yet, as we partner with venues including Green Mountain Audubon, Shelburne Farms, and The Nature Museum. It all kicks off on May 3, with “Mushroom Cultivation for Garden and Forest” at New Haven, CT’s Common Ground. Stay tuned – we will be announcing the full 2015 workshop lineup soon, including a few special events and new formats that pair foraging and feasting. If your basket is empty, it won’t be for long!

Northeastern ForageCast for the next few weeks!

Northeastern ForageCast™ for the next few weeks!

2012 Workshop Season Kicks Off

We hope you’re as excited as we are about the upcoming Northeastern mushroom foraging season! While you wait patiently for morels, in the mean time you can get excited about the 2012 workshop season with The Mushroom Forager. This upcoming week, The Mushroom Forager’s 2012 workshop season will be kicking off with a fun-filled workshop at the Horticulture Society of New York in New York City called Mushrooms Wild and Cultivated. Participants will be introduced to the region’s most distinctive and delicious wild mushrooms, as well as inoculating a shiitake log to take home. 

We’re also looking forward to two workshops in Western Massachusetts – a mushroom cultivation and foraging workshop in Montague on May 12th (just a few seats left, so register while there is still space!), and a foraging lecture and guided walk at the 2012 NOFA Conference in August. Between May and August, there are a handful of workshops scheduled in Vermont at the Metta Earth Institute, Shelburne Farms, Twin Pond Retreat and the Center for Whole Communities. We are excited to be collaborating with our friend Steve Gabriel of Work with Nature for two of these workshops.

If you aren’t able to join us for any of these events, stay tuned as there will likely be additional workshops added to the 2012 schedule. Please visit our Upcoming Workshops page to learn more about our workshop offerings and our Testimonials page to get a flavor of what past workshop participants have said about The Mushroom Forager. We hope the foraging season ahead fills your baskets with a cornucopia of wild treats!

On left: Workshop participants inoculate a log with shiitake spawn. On right: Ari leads a workshop on mushrooms in the garden at the Ithaca Community Gardens in 2011.

The Mushroom Forager’s Photography in Cornell Exhibition

Some of our photographs on display in the Cornell exhibit.

 

The ground may be frozen, but a mushroom menagerie has popped up in Cornell’s Mann Library. “The Other Side of What? Adventures in Fungal Wonderland” features photographs taken by members of the Ithaca community during 2011’s bountiful wild mushroom season. Several of The Mushroom Forager’s photographs are displayed in the exhibit, which will be up until April 30. 

Since we have relocated to Vermont, we won’t be able to make it to the opening reception on Thursday, January 26 from 4:30 to 5:30pm. If you are local, we’d encourage you to attend this free event hosted by celebrated Cornell mycology professors Kathie Hodge and George Hudler. Otherwise, stop by Mann’s Top Shelf Gallery at your convenience or view the images as a slide show. Enjoy!  

Mushrooms in the Garden Workshop

King stropharia mushrooms!

Do you like the idea of having gourmet mushrooms springing up among your crops in the garden? Come to a “Mushrooms in the Garden” workshop at the Ithaca Community Gardens on Sunday, August 28, as part of the Garden Education Program’s summer workshop series. The workshop is free and open to the public.

At the workshop, I will demonstrate how to inoculate a garden bed with the sun-loving king stropharia, or garden giant, mushroom. Not only are garden giants tasty, but there is also evidence that they boost soil fertility and improve the yields of some crops. Learn about other mushroom species that thrive in the garden, and discover how to develop a perennial myco-landscape in your backyard.

If you’d like to attend, meet at the Ithaca Community Gardens gazebo at 11am Sunday morning. The workshop will be approximately one hour long.

UPDATE on 8/27/11: Due to the impending rains from Hurricane Irene, the workshop has been postponed until Sunday, September 18 at 11am.

Mushroom Cultivation at the Cornell Youth Grow Summit

Ari answers a question about mushroom cultivation.

Over 35 high school students gathered outside Cornell University’s Plant Science building on a sunny late June morning for “Mushroom Cultivation for Fun and Profit,” a workshop I co-led at the 2011 Youth Grow Summit with Steve Gabriel – a Cornell Garden-Based Learning co-worker and Program Director for the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute.

Youth Grow empowers high school-aged youth to become leaders in cultivating sustainable food systems, and the Summit brings youth from rural and urban areas throughout New York together for three days of educational workshops, networking, and knowledge sharing.

The Youth Grow Summit was an inspiring event, as the participants had a genuine passion for making the world a better place by improving our food systems. I was happy to see that there was such wide interest in mushroom cultivation among the youth – several told me the day before how excited they were, and the event coordinators ultimately had to put a cap on the workshop enrollment.

Steve Gabriel and Ari Rockland-Miller presenting at the 2011 Cornell Youth Grow Summit.

Even more importantly, the participants were engaged and excited about learning. They asked thoughtful questions as Steve and I demonstrated techniques for cultivating shiitake, oyster, and king stropharia mushrooms. Conveniently, one of my favorite wild king stropharia patches was within a stone’s throw of the workshop location. I don’t usually give away my mushroom spots, but this one was well worth it for the educational value!

Once we tuned into the natural world beneath our feet, other surprises awaited us, too! When I picked up an earthworm that was wriggling amongst the woodchips, a few students screamed in repulsion. One young woman, however, was more intrigued than repulsed. She reached out to hold the worm, and once she grabbed it an onlooker became eager to join the fun. I pushed aside the top layer of woodchips and found a nice plump one for her. It was all worth it for the huge smile on her face as she marveled at the worm’s slippery texture as it squirmed around in her palm!

Steve Gabriel explains how to grow oyster mushrooms on coffee grounds.

A workshop participant from Brooklyn holds an earthworm.

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