This year, I was finally able to go to the
Mycological Society of San Francisco annual fungus fair, but for
only one day, Saturday. I took a few pictures on my own, solicited pictures and
comments from the members of the MSSF OneList (MSSF electronic mailing
list), and collected what I could off the OneList postings.
Our group was represented by me, my wife Cecelia, and
my nephew Cary and his daughter Rachael.
The fair was incredible. We were all overwhelmed
by the amount of mushrooms on display. I wandered around at first,
trying to get an overview of the fair, but soon realized that I had to
concentrate on a few tables or I would miss everything. I was so
impressed by the settings and groupings of the various displays. Many of the tables displayed mushrooms in their natural habitat.
Everywhere there were friendly experts to help, and
everyone I walked by seemed to have a smile on his face. I finally
got to meet, in person, Taylor
Lockwood, Larry Stickney, and Patrick
Hamilton. When I finally stopped wandering around for a spell, I was
able to talk to some of the people behind the tables.
My nephew's daughter visited the children's table and enjoyed herself
making a few clay models of mushrooms.
My nephew was feeling a bit under the weather and
sampled some medicinal mushroom-ginger tea which, he said, made him feel
We had had a late and large breakfast, so we didn't partake of any of the
wild mushroom dishes offered in the cafe, but reveled in the aromas.
Taylor's slide presentation and Patrick Hamilton's cooking demonstration
were two of the highlights of our first visit to the fair. Taylor's
humor made us laugh, and some of his beautiful slides, with the music in
the background, brought tears to my eyes. Patrick's cooking
demonstration was very informative, funny, and tasty, as we were invited
to taste delicious
samples of both the White and Golden Chanterelles, Matsutake, Hen of the
Woods, and Oyster Mushrooms.
I left the fair with my head spinning from all I saw, but we all vowed to
return again to next year's fair.
A note from Larry Stickney:
We had about 300 named species on display, and
any number of X sp. (unidentified mushrooms)
1800 paying visitors in the two days.
The following is a brief description of the
Fair, posted on the MSSF Onelist by Yu-Shen Ng:
We'd like to invite you to this year's San Francisco
Mushroom Fair. It's happening, in fact, a week from Saturday at the
same location as last year: the County Fair Building in Golden Gate
Park, San Francisco (at 9th and
We've enjoyed a great mushroom season so far this year (thanks to plenty of
rain), and we expect the Fair to have as many mushroom displays, cooking
demonstrations, and fun activities as in previous years.
Featured this year are speakers Paul Stamets, an almost mythologized
mushroom visionary and cultivator, and Taylor Lockwood, who has traveled
far and wide to photograph mushrooms. Chef Sunita Dutt, of Chinook
Restaurant, and Mycochef Patrick Hamilton will also be giving cooking
demonstrations at the Fair. There are also plans for new activities for
kids this year, with a new clay craft station in addition to pencil and paper
Here's the scoop on the Mushroom Fair:
- Saturday, 12/9, 10am-5pm, and Sunday, 12/10, 11am-5pm.
- County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
(9th and Lincoln)
- $6 adults/$3 students with ID and children under 12
For more details, visit http://www.mssf.org/
or read on.
On December 9 and 10, the San Francisco Mushroom Fair brings to
Golden Gate Park the beauty, smells, tastes, and intricacies of the world of
mushrooms. Sponsored by the Mycological Society of San Francisco,
the Fair offers cooking demonstrations, slide shows, displays of habitat and
fresh and unusual mushrooms, and informational booths covering mushroom-related
"hunting," poisoning, biology, art, medicines, and identification.
The Fair is open to the public, and all are welcome. It will be held at
the County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park (at 9th and Lincoln) on both
Saturday and Sunday, December 9 and 10 (10am-5pm on Saturday and 11am-5pm on
Over a thousand specimens of local mushrooms will be on display at the fair, and
visitors will learn, first hand, how to distinguish the deadly poisonous
mushrooms from the choice edibles. Mushrooms will be displayed in a
setting that assists in their identification and mimics their natural habitat.
Speakers at the fair will focus on various roles of mushrooms in our society --
in our economy, in our society, and in the world ecosystem.
Internationally-renowned photographer Taylor Lockwood will present a
multimedia slide show about exotic mushrooms from around the world. Mycological
scientist, visionary and pioneering cultivator Paul Stamets will discuss "Mushrooms
as Planetary Healers" and "Psilocybin and Amanita Mushrooms: An
Innocent Discovers the Infinite." Michael Boom, past
president of the Mycological Society of San Francisco, will give an introductory
talk on mushrooms, titled "The Secret Life of Mushrooms".
Dr. Matteo Garbelotto, UC Berkeley mycologist, will explain and introduce
Sudden Oak Death, a fungal disease that has been threatening trees in the
Bay Area. Dr. Mo Mei Chen, also of UC Berkeley, having just
returned from a Medicinal Mushroom conference in the Netherlands, will present
on the state of medicinal uses of mushrooms worldwide. And, Janet Doell,
founder of the Lichen Society, and her husband Richard will give a
multi-media slide show on lichens, which are comprised of a symbiotic
relationship of fungi and algae.
Cooking shows will be held on both days of the Fair. Sunita Dutt,
Executive chef of Chinook Restaurant in San Rafael will demonstrate techniques
and recipes for preparing choice wild mushrooms available in the Bay Area.
Similarly, "Mycochef" Patrick Hamilton, food columnist for the
Mushroom, the Journal of Wild Mushrooming and long-time member of the
Mycological Society of San Francisco, will teach mushroom cooking
Some culinary events will also occur prior to the Mushroom Fair. Sponsor
restaurants Chinook of San Rafael and La Lime's of Berkeley will each be hosting
a series of mushroom-centered dinners. Chinook's dinners will be held on
November 15 and 16, and La Lime's will be held December 5 and 6. Call the
respective restaurants for details.
JUST FOR KIDS
Middle and high schools students will enjoy and appreciate most fair activities,
and younger students can also participate in artist and author Louise
Freedman's Kid's Area. The Kid's Area will provide opportunities to
learn about a select set of mushrooms, participate in a mushroom drawing
contest, and "hunt" for specific mushrooms among the display tables.
ORGANIZED MUSHROOM HUNTING FORAYS
In addition to viewing displays and presentations, fair visitors can participate
in "mushroom-hunting" by joining one of the pre-fair "mushroom
forays." On Friday, December 8, several teams of experts will invite
fair-goers to hike through forests, hillsides, trails, and seashores to collect
mushrooms in San Francisco, in Marin, in the North Bay, on the East Bay, on the
Peninsula, and elsewhere throughout the Bay Area. To participate in any of
the pre-fair forays, call the Mycological Society of San Francisco's (MSSF's)
hotline at 415-759-0495 for more information.
The Mushroom Fair is not a crafts fair; some mushroom related items, however,
including books, tee-shirts, mushroom dyed clothing, posters, and mushroom home
cultivation kits, will be available for sale.
ABOUT THE SOCIETY
The Mycological Society of San Francisco is a
non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of educational and scientific
activities involving mushrooms. The MSSF is the largest regional mushroom
society in the United States, and has over 800 members. Founded in 1950, the
society awards yearly scholarships, tracks local mycological species, assists
Bay Area poison control centers, leads mushroom identification walks and works
to preserve cultural traditions of mushroom collecting.
Mycological Society of San Francisco
The Speaker Schedule
The following schedule was posted on the
MSSF OneList by Debbie Veiss:
Saturday, December 10th:
Matteo Garbelotto, UC Berkeley researcher, speaking on Sudden
Oak Death at 11:30 am.
Taylor Lockwood, presenting an updated "Treasures from the
Kingdom of Fungi" at 12:30 pm.
Janet and Richard Doell are giving a multimedia Lichen Presentation
at 2:00 pm.
Paul Stamets is speaking on Amanitas and Psilocybes at 3:00 pm.
Mo Mei Chen
speaking on Medicinal Mushrooms at 12:00 pm.
Taylor Lockwood, presenting an updated "Treasures From the
Kingdom of Fungi" at 1:00 pm.
Mike Boom is giving a beginners talk, "The Secret life of
Mushrooms", at 2:15 pm.
Paul Stamets will be speaking on Mushroom Bioremediation at 3:30
Specie List (from
Collecting for the Fungus Fair was good this
year, with 293 taxa IDed to
the species level. Here is the list:
Another impressive list!
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