Hunt for wild mushrooms July 27

Have you ever wondered if the mushrooms you find in the woods are edible? The West Virginia Mushroom Club can help. Whether you’re a curious amateur or an experienced mushroom hunter, there will be something for everybody at the West Virginia Mushroom Club’s annual wild mushroom foray in Dry Fork on Saturday, July 27.

Anybody interested in wild mushrooms, nature, or simply enjoying a day outdoors is encouraged to attend. Plans are in place for fun-filled and educational day, rain or shine. The fee for attendance is $35 per person, but kids under the age of 12 or over the age of 80 attend for free!

SVisiting experts will include Gary Lincoff, author of the “Audubon Field Guide to Mushrooms,” “The Complete Mushroom Hunter,” “The Joy of Foraging” and several other books. Also making a rare appearance in the Appalachian area, Dr. Tom Volk, professor of biology at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, will be coming as well. Not only are Gary and Tom entertaining and funny speakers, they are such skilled teachers that you will find yourself fascinated about mushrooms that aren’t even edible.

In addition to the visiting experts, there will be three nationally famous local experts as well. Barbour County resident William Roody, author of “Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachians,” will be present and copies of his book will be available for purchase. Barbour County mushroom and wildlife expert Donna Mitchell will be there to help you sort and display the mushrooms you collect that day. Walt Sturgeon, another nationally recognized mushroom expert and photographer, will be coming down from Ohio to teach us about Appalachian boletes, many of which are delicious edibles that are easily identified and probably growing right now in the woods near your home.

The event will begin with registration at the Dry Fork Assembly of God Fellowship Hall (not the church), just off Route 32 at the Randolph/Tucker County line at 8 a.m. on Saturday, July 27.

After registration, attendees will carpool to hunt for mushrooms on easy trails in the Canaan Valley, Blackwater Falls and Dolly Sods areas for about two hours. Bring a sack lunch, or pick up something at one of the local Canaan Valley restaurants, so you won’t miss any of the exciting educational programs when you return to the foray location at noon.

After the educational programs are concluded, one of the speakers will go around the tables to teach you about the mushrooms collected that morning and offer pointers about identifying them in the future. Maybe you cannot become a mushroom expert in one day, but you can learn to recognize the deadly poisonous ones and some of the easily recognizable and delicious edibles available locally.

Wild mushroom dishes will be offered for tasting at the end of the day.

There will also be a fundraising sales table featuring T-shirts designed especially for this event, mushroom-related items, and an auction that will include a log inoculated with shitake spores, so you’ll have a reminder of your mushroom-filled day for weeks or years to come.

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You can preregister right now to guarantee your spot and avoid registration lines at the foray; simply email or call 304-636-7074 for instructions.