This immersive wilderness learning experience will bring you into the forest with a single delicious goal in mind: how to find, identify, and harvest wild edible mushrooms!
There are thousands of species of mushrooms in eastern North America, many of which you can find right here in the Haliburton Highlands, and all across Ontario! Many have strange alien-looking shapes that don't resemble the mushrooms you find in the grocery store at all. Some look like heads of cauliflower, some like beautiful corals you’d find under the sea, others like soccer balls, bird’s feathers, or dangling icicles that hang from tree trunks, dead stumps and logs, or that burst up from the forest floor through leaves and dirt.
Wild mushrooms have curious folk names like "Dead Man’s Fingers", "Shaggy Mane", “Witch’s Butter”, and "Bear’s Head Tooth"; but their scientific names are far more accurate and important. Some turn colours when they’re cut or bruised, others smell like common fruits, taste acrid or bitter, or even glow in the dark at night. Many wild mushrooms are delicious; others are toxic. Most are unpalatable, flavourless, or too tough to eat. A few are even deadly. But how do you know which is which?
As the wise saying goes: “There are old mushroom hunters, and there are bold mushroom hunters… but there are NO old, bold mushroom hunters!”. With a few simple steps and rules, avid outdoorsman and forager Stephan Lukacic will start you down the rewarding path towards being able to safely recognize and locate wild edible mushrooms in the forest, and in many cases, right in your own backyard or local park when you get back home!
*Note: this experience focuses on teaching you how to find and safely identify wild edible mushrooms. This is not a standard (boring!) foraging walk where a guide identifies mushrooms for you, which you then take home—having learned very little about how and why those mushrooms are safe to eat, where they like to grow, or how to properly harvest them! This short, intensive “course” is designed to demystify wild mushrooms (rather than just handing them to you), giving you a solid foundation on which to build foraging skills. You will receive a 6 page handout covering all the basics of mushroom hunting methodology, read and discuss its contents thoroughly, and then do a deep dive right into the forest—putting the knowledge you’ve acquired directly into practice by identifying live wild mushrooms in their natural habitat. There’s always tonnes of time for questions and conversation, and usually some cool people and a bunch of laughs!
Mushroom hunting is a fascinating, gratifying, and often misunderstood outdoor activity. Come learn the basics of foraging for these fungal wonders of nature, learn tricks of the forager’s trade, and have a blast doing it!
*All mushroom hunting photos taken in the Haliburton Highlands
What to bring: Good hiking shoes, hat, sweater, waterproof jacket, insect repellent and/or bug jacket, camera (cell phone), a pen or pencil, and readiness for outdoor adventures!
$55.00/person plus HST based on a group of 4 or more. (Maximum group size 12)
$99/person +HST for semi private (less than 4 people), and $150/for solo +HST. (If your dates are flexible Yours Outdoors can put you in a group with others for a group experience.)
*Rates include meet up at planned time and location, a short and informative introductory talk about the fascinating worlds of mycology and mushroom hunting, followed by a wilderness hike to scout and identify common wild edible mushrooms.
All rates subject to HST. Yours Outdoors accepts cash, cheque, e-transfer, Paypal and online credit card payments via Paypal (Visa, MC, American Express).