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CMS ENews is published monthly by the Cascade Mycological Society (CMS) from September thru May.  CMS is located in Eugene, Oregon. If you have questions, comments, or contributions for the CMS Enews, email us at Also feel free to share the CMS Enews.
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CMS November 2019 Meeting

  • When: Wednesday, November 20, 2019, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
  • Where: Amazon Community Center, 2700 Hilyard St, Eugene, Oregon 97405

This event is free and open to the public. There will be a mushroom identification session. Bring what’s in your basket, edible or not, and learn from the experienced members of our community.

Russians learn to pick mushrooms as soon as they can walk, and all of them go to the woods on weekends in August. By Sunday night virtually every well-known edible within a 100km radius of the city is gone.  Our November speaker is CMS Board member Pavel Gubanikhin who grew up in St. Petersburg Russia. He recently returned with his daughter Alexandra so that she could experience mushroom foraging with his parents as he had always done while growing up there.  This picture of Pavel’s parents with Alexandra speaks volumes about Pavel’s life-long love of mushrooming.  This month he will share with us some of those experiences and the mushrooms of Russia.  

About the Speaker
CMS Board Member and Treasurer, Pavel Gubanikhin, started foraging for wild mushrooms at the age of four with his grandparents while growing up in Russia.  When Pavel and his family moved to Eugene from Florida in October 2008, they attended their first Mount Pisgah Arboretum Mushroom Festival the very next day after coming into town, and have been enjoying mushroom foraging ever since.

Pavel has a Bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning, a Master’s degree in public administration, and twenty years of experience in local government budgeting and finance with city and county governments in Ohio, Florida and Oregon. Pavel currently works as a finance manager for the City of Eugene, and had previously served as a treasurer for the Southeast Neighborhood Association and the Downtown Public Speakers Club.

Mushroom Gifts on Sale at the November CMS Meeting

Our December Meeting will be cutting it a little close for those wanting to purchase mushroom gifts, so we decided to do a November sale instead. Everyone at the November meeting will receive the CMS member discount. Cash or credit cards will be accepted. We will have: 
  • CMS T-shirts
  • CMS Wild Mushroom Cookbooks
  • Mushroom Magnets
  • Mushroom Christmas Ornaments
  • Mushroom Wine Charms
  • Mushroom Prayer Flags by Cada Johnson

2019 Mount Pisgah Arboretum Mushroom Festival

The 2019 Mount Pisgah Arboretum (MPA) Mushroom Festival was definitely one for the record books! I have never seen so many boxes piled up on Saturday morning as we had this year.  It was over the top!  And, the stats plus these pictures from Saturday setup day, bare out that observation. 


Stats and Awards:

  • Total # of species – 539!  (Yes, we blew away the 2017 record of 409)
  • New species – 88 (beat the record of 69 new species in 2016)
  • Best in Show:  Cortinarius ponderosus – Jacob Anderson
  • 1st Place:  Sparassis radicata – Keiko Bryan and Rob Castleberry  
  • 2nd Place: Boletopsis leucomelana – Bruce Newhouse & Peg Boulay

Thank you so much to all of the CMS volunteers, our Guest Expert Identifiers (Else Vellinga, Noah Siegel, Steve Trudell, Efren Cazare), our Lane Community College partners, and the entire staff of the Mount Pisgah Arboretum for making the 2019 MPA Mushroom Festival such a memorable event.

For lots more pictures and an explanation of why we had so many mushrooms on display this year, check out the full story on the CMS Website.

The 2019 Mushroom Festival's Contribution to Science

It has long been the goal of CMS to eventually introduce a scientific/study opportunity into the mix of the Mount Pisgah Arboretum Mushroom Festival.   In addition to breaking records, this was also the first year that goal was realized, and in a big way.  Prior to the festival CMS was contacted by Chris Rath, PHD on behalf of the Dorrestein Laboratory at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).  Chris requested that he be allowed to collect samples of mushrooms at the end of the festival for mass spectrometry (MS) analysis. Chris explained “A characterized mushroom dataset would be an invaluable resource for the scientific community in terms of basic biology, toxicology, health, and medicine.”  He further detailed that the resultant data of the analysis will be stored in the open-access, publicly available Global Natural Products Social Molecular Networking (GNPS), hosted at UCSD. Upon learning more details and having all of our questions answered, both CMS and our LCC partners gave a jubilant “we will totally support your data collection” response to Chris. 

On the day of the festival, Chris’s response at seeing the mushroom display was “I wish I had brought more vials”. At the days end, Chris along with two associates gathered up samples of 200 mushrooms for analysis. We look forward to following the progress of this endeavor, and hopefully providing an update in a future newsletter. If you would also like to learn more, check out the GNPS website.

Fantastic Fungi - Yes, you can still see it!

A review from - "Though its generic title may evoke memories of the archaic science videos you fell asleep to in grade school, Schwartzberg’s film quickly proves to be one of the year’s most mind-blowing, soul-cleansing and yes, immensely entertaining triumphs."

The documentary film Fantastic Fungi is still playing at the Broadway Metro. Click here for showtimes. The theater re-evaluates films every Thursday to determine if they will extend a film. Fantastic Fungi appears to be still going strong among Eugene mycophiles.

Fungi in the News

(AKA, a roundup of recent CMS Facebook posts)

Recipes and Culinary Articles

Vegetarian Mushroom Wellington
Pumpkin Soup with Wild Mushrooms
Candy Cap Mushrooms on Butternut Squash
White Risotto with Cauliflower Mushroom Ragu

Latvian central bank offers magical mushroom coin - The new coin, titled "Gifts of the Forest" is "dedicated to Latvia's nature" and "bears a message of Latvian values and traditions creating the sense of belonging to Latvia and uniting its people,". However, despite the name "Gifts of the Forest", the coins themselves will be anything but free of charge when they go on sale October 17. The price of the coin at the Cashier's Offices of Latvijas Banka is 47.00 euro each, making them very much the white truffle of the coin collectors' world. Read more at Public Broadcasting of Latvia

Everything You Need To Know To Become A "Mushroom Person" Beautiful and beguiling, mushrooms are the first ingredient we think of when the weather turns cold. But even if you spent your entire life studying mushrooms (it's called mycology—look it up), you’d only be skimming the surface. But since you're probably not looking to change the course of your life to research mushrooms  we'll just tell you how to buy them, wash them and cook them. Read more at Bon Appetit 

How Magic Mushrooms Can Help Smokers Kick The Habit - New research shows that psilocybin might be an effective treatment for diseases such as depression and addiction. While the work is still in its early stages, there are signs that psilocybin might help addicts shake the habit by causing the brain to talk with itself in different ways. Read more or listen at National Public Radio.

This Mushroom Building Cleans Air as it Grows - The round building looks something like a giant birthday cake coated in spiderwebs. It’s beautiful, yet a bit haunting. Look closer, though, and you’ll realize this structure has nothing but love for its surroundings. Because while materials ranging from concrete to insulation are wrecking our environment, the Growing Pavilion is made entirely from materials that grew on this planet. Read more at Fast Company

Mushrooms Are Having A Moment In Mendocino County - The release of a new documentary called Fantastic Fungi – narrated by Academy Award winner Brie Larson – is just one more sign that mushrooms are enjoying a special moment in the spotlight. For many chefs, mushrooms remain at the top of the essential ingredients list. They’re meaty, containing small amounts of protein, and adapt to a wide range of recipes from braises to searing stir-fries. The full spectrum of cooking techniques is on display during the 10-day Mushroom Feast Mendocino.  Read more at Forbes.

54 Hour Startup Winner Offers New Way to Eat Mushrooms - Techstars Startup Weekend is a super-charged networking and development event, throwing together new participants that often have never met before to collaborate to develop and deliver a comprehensive pitch and business plan Sunday evening. The winning team of Emma Powers, Jack Richardson, Geoff Falkenberg and Connor Nolan dreamed up a Mushroom Jerky snack they named SuperShroom. Read more at The Register Guard

On the Hunt for Mushrooms in Central Oregon - For the last several Octobers a New York Times photojournalist visited his sister in Central Oregon during the height of the mushroom season. In this photo essay, Stephen Hiltner takes you on the hunt to find Chanterelles, King Boletes, Hedgehogs, and Matsutake.  View at the New York Times

Marine fungi with unconventional reproduction cycles found - "There's hardly anything known about fungi in the marine environment. This was an opportunity to understand who might be there and what they're doing, and also discover some new fungal systems that might display interesting biology," said study co-author Amy Gladfelter from Marine Biological Laboratory. Read more at The Week

Why mushroom-picking is the best form of mindfulness - In her new book, The Way Through the Woods, the Norwegian-Malaysian writer Long Litt Woon describes the various sensory pleasures that are involved in the gathering of mushrooms: the beguiling way they yield to the human hand; their different textures, whether velvety or hairy, rubbery or powdery; even the noises they make (some pop when snapped).Read more at The Guardian

Who are you and can I eat you?

By Ron Patton

Can I eat it? Ah yes, one of the most asked questions amongst mushroom hunters of all experience levels when an unknown mushroom species is encountered. We typically dismiss the small mushrooms as being inconsequential and of little culinary value. Besides, what would be left of them after sautéing these little fragile morsels and then immersing them in a soup or recipe filled with so many other ingredients? Instead we simply admire these petite little wonders and continue looking for other mushrooms with greater substance. All the while filtering out those that we look disapprovingly upon, which usually fall into the category of being unattractive, slimy, or scary. Sometimes we may know a mushroom is edible, but have heard or read about the flavor or texture being difficult to work with or just downright awful tasting. Can you imagine having to struggle with a collection of Gomphidius oregonensis mushrooms. Even the drool of a bulldog or your largest backyard slug is no match for this mushroom. Commonly called the “blackening slime spike” it is listed in Noah Siegel’s book as being “nontoxic, but rather gooey and often downright unattractive”.  Now that’s a real double whammy, two thumbs down and a fast rejection for this forest dwelling character.

Otherwise, when you come upon a mushroom that meets your visual criteria and you want to try and identify it, you can consult your favorite mushroom book to key it out. Once identified you might think the only thing left to do if it is nontoxic is to start looking up recipes. Not so fast, or as the French would say, Au Contraire. Just solving the “who are you” mystery is not always as straight forward as it may seem. Quite a number of woodland mushrooms are listed as edible “with caution”. Don’t confuse the term “edible with caution” with “edible with au jus”. One is a warning the other is just some kind of uppity gravy thing. For example, Agaricus subrutilescens is listed as being edible and very good with the caution that some people have gotten gastrointestinal distress (aka; puked big time). How could such a lovely mushroom related to the store bought portabella do this to someone? How the hell would I know? I don’t really know; however, you are now faced with the choice of do I try it or just move on to some other mushroom? If you do decide to give it a try, remember the rules of only trying a small amount, never drink alcohol or use any other mind altering substance with it, only try the one mushroom species at a time, wait at least a day to see if you have a reaction, and always save an identifiable piece of the mushroom you are eating just in case you have a really bad reaction. This is not to scare anyone since an allergic reaction to a mushroom or any food for that matter can occur. It’s all about safety first.

The last and more mind provoking issue that arises with some mushrooms is not about them but more about the company they keep. Unlike Agaricus subrutilescens whose genus contains mushroom species that are quite likely to make you sick, others like the edible Amanita calyptroderma has genetic relatives that are deadly. When you see a comment section listed under an edible mushroom that states “do not confuse this mushroom with” it should make you hit the pause button. The correct identification of this mushroom is critical enough that Noah Siegel’s book contains a comparative checklist for A. calyptroderma versus A. phalloides, aka; the Death Cap. Although Sandy and I have eaten A. calyptroderma on a few occasions, the psychological effect that can follow might outweigh any pleasure you might gain from eating this mushroom. You start second guessing yourself as to whether you really should have eaten it and although it has been expertly identified, what if? It was not until we went out foraging with Lee Yamada earlier this year and came upon a large grouping of A. calyptroderma that we took one home, sautéed it and actually enjoyed it. For the first time we had completely bypassed our previous held psychological inhibitions and allowed ourselves to feel fully confident that what we were eating was the real McCoy.

No matter what criteria you use to select and try mushrooms listed in reference books as edible, just remember your safety always comes first. We always check for mushroom edibility using multiple book sources, do online searches, and check with experienced CMS members. The edibility status of various mushrooms have changed over time and it is important never to rely on gossip, hearsay, and innuendo when it comes to mushroom edibility. Information obtained through these questionable means should be limited to the "fish that got away" and "man parts".

Happy Mushrooming, stay safe and eat wisely.

Below are upcoming mushroom events around Oregon.
Some require registration or advance planning (travel from Eugene).

September-November (Astoria area ) - Wild mushroom hikes with Ranger Dan at Fort Stevens State Park. More info, click here and enter a keyword of mushroom.

November 23 (Eugene) - Citizen Science Saturday: Mushrooms and More - Offered by Nearby Nature. More info here.

November 24 (Arcata, CA) - Humboldt Mushroom Fair -  Between 300 – 500 species of fungi collected locally, identified and displayed in taxonomic groups on natural habitat materials. Displays of edible and toxic mushrooms presided over by experts on these fungi. Mushroom identification for the public – bring your mushrooms! More info here

December 8 (San Francisco, CA) - The Mycological Society of San Francisco (MSSF) Fungus Fair - The Fair provides information on the uses and abuses of fungi, with displays and exhibits on ecology, toxicology, and cultivation. Arrays of identification tables display locally collected mushrooms. More info here.

December 12-15 (Scotts Valley, CA) - 4th Annual Santa Cruz Mycoflora Foray - Plan to spend an absorbing weekend in the beautiful coastal redwoods collecting and identifying fungi, participating in lectures and workshops, enjoying the company of fellow fungiphiles, all the while building our local mycoflora database.  More info here.

January 10-12 (Santa Cruz, CA) - 46th Annual Santa Cruz Fungus Fair - This unique Santa Cruz tradition features fantastic fungus fun for the whole family. Bring the kids and stroll through a re-created woodland forest displaying hundreds of wild mushrooms, hands-on activities for the kids, and more!  More info here.
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