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Mushroom fest is next weekend

By Maria Young, Assistant city editor for features
Photos courtesy of NANCY WARD
There will be a shiitake cultivation workshop by Paul Goland at the festival.
It takes some knowledge to identify which mushrooms are good for consumption and which are not.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — If you think mushrooms come neatly sliced in rectangular containers covered with plastic wrap at the grocery store, you have a lot of learn about mushrooms. And the West Virginia Mushroom Club (yes, there really is a club for mushroom lovers) would like to help.

The club is holding its 10th annual Fungal Fest, Feast & Foray on Friday and Saturday in the fellowship hall at Dryfork Assembly of God, along W.Va. 32 roughly four miles south of Canaan Valley Resort State Park, in Tucker County, and five miles north of Harman, Randolph County.

“This event attracts people from the D.C. area, Ohio, Kentucky, New York, New Jersey — all over, really. It’s become a real draw because we get some of the most well-known mycologists around, and our forays aren’t that expensive,” said Nancy Ward, one of the organizers.

A mycologist is someone who studies mushrooms. There will be a number of prominent experts on hand, including international mushroom expert and author Gary Lincoff, who will present colorful stories and photos from his previous trips to India; Kyle Weaner, who will present a mushroom cooking demonstration on the exotic world of Indian cuisine; Paul Goland, who will offer a lunchtime shiitake workshop; and Alissa Allen, whose “Fungal Rainbow” workshop will teach participants some of the unique and beautiful things they can create using mushrooms, lichens and other fungi to dye yarns, fabrics and other materials.

The event will also include a mushroom photography foray, a mushroom birder walk, and a number of forays of varying difficulty levels to pick from.

“We go out in the morning and everyone gathers mushrooms, and then you put them out and we’ll identify and sort them,” Ward said.

“A lot of people’s interest comes from, What can you eat? How can you tell a good mushroom from a bad mushroom? And then there are all the different things you can do with mushrooms,” she added.

The foray costs $50 per person, with additional costs for lodging. Volunteers get a 50 percent discount on registration fees, and participants under 12 or over 80 attend for free.

For more information or to register, visit http://wvmushroomclub.org/, or call Ward at 304-610-4040 or 304-342-7148 for more information.


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