We have finally gotten a taste of some good weather so I started researching one of my favorite topics: mushrooms! I grew up picking mushrooms in Europe which is completely different than doing it in New York. First of all, in Europe, Czech Republic in particular, mushroom picking is a popular sport! Second of all, the mushroom season is only 2-3 months long.
In New York it’s completely different! First of all, almost no one picks mushrooms. This is true for New York City as well as the state, most Americans in general seem too scared to pick mushrooms! Also, mushroom hunting season here is practically all year round. However, prime mushroom picking time is from April until October.
Coming from a country where you have to wake up at 5 AM after a rainy day to find a single mushroom that hasn’t already been picked by the hordes of hungry mushroom hunters. The first mushroom I ever found in New York was found in plain sight on a very busy path in a New York City park… that got me researching.
Even if you know something about picking mushrooms in Europe or Asia, you can’t just apply the same knowledge in a new place. There are lookalike mushrooms that can be edible in one country and poisonous in the other. That’s why it’s a good idea to join a mycological society. If you’re in New York, I recommend the New York Mycological Society!
They have a website and a Facebook Page where members (and non members) can learn about mushroom types and join on mushroom hunting expeditions for just $5, unless you become a member for $15 annually ($25 for a family). The group consists of experts, some experienced mushroom pickers and many newbies.
They also don’t focus on picking edible mushrooms, they like to explore and identify mushrooms of all sorts! I joined for a walk through a cemetery in the Bronx, where we split up, picked mushrooms and met at the end to examine all of our findings. It was a lot of fun and very educational!
A mycological society can also help explain the laws regarding mushroom picking in the area that you are in. I was surprised that there are so many rules in America about literally everything. Isaac got a fine once for being in a park when it has snowed, despite there being no signs about it.
There are strict rules about foraging anything in state parks and city parks. The laws aren’t clear at all, so it’s always best to ask someone more experienced. Whenever we go picking mushrooms, we bring a towel/picnic blanket to drape over the basket just in case.
Starting this weekend, I will start going on hikes hoping to find oyster mushrooms that grow all year round! But the moment it gets warm and rainy, everything else will sprout too. I just can’t wait!
Do you love mushroom picking? Share your favorite mushroom stories in the comments below! Plus, check out my earring store if you like mushroom-themed jewelry, I make it by hand with the help of my acrylic laser cutter machine.
Other Shroomy Articles:
- Pick Shaming: Mushroom Hunting Dos & Don’ts
- Birch Polypore Mushroom: Disgustingly Healthy Tea
- Chanterelle Mushroom: Foraging Guide
- Chicken of the Woods: Easy to Identify Mushrooms
- Why Pick Wild Mushrooms?
- Bolete Mushrooms: Foraging Guide
- Morels: Easy to Identify Mushrooms
- Back to the Roots: Grow Your Mushroom Food Kit
- Giant Puffball: Easy to Identify Mushroom in NYC
Why are you guys ripping the mushrooms out of the ground with roots!!! This is appalling. You’re supposed to leave the roots intact so another mushroom can grow. Shame on you!
Please do your research. “Turns out that in the cut plots, yields have decreased (but only very slightly) over time. And, more surprising to the group, in plots harvested by simply pulling out the mushrooms, yields have actually gone up during the 25 years of this study.”
Britt A. Bunyard – http://www.fungimag.com/spring-2012-articles/LR_Agaricidal.pdf
I’d also like to point out that this group is led by expert mycologists and they also explained this myth. A mushroom had a wide network that ranges far in the ground, not just the roots that you see. Most mushrooms also don’t re-grow from their stems. They reproduce via spores.