Observations autumn 2012

Is focused foraging for edible fungi justifiable?

Re: Observations autumn 2012

Postby Stuart Bates » Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:40 pm

You can say whatever you like Sheila as this is an open forum and we are all entitled to our own opinions. :D

I don't think you would be "alienating" yourself from the group as I am sure there are other members on here who share your views.

Admittedly I have consumed a number of species but these days tend not to... either because they didn't live up to expectations OR because my local area is just so poor at producing anything that could be considered "choice".

I now just focus on recording what I find, although I am not against people who collect responsibly for personal consumption (as I used to do so myself).
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Re: Observations autumn 2012

Postby GeoffDann » Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:47 pm

There are some things you can eat with a completely clear conscience. I personally really like eating Armillaria mellea, for example, and I can't imagine why any right-minded conservationist would get seriously hot under the collar about me taking a few of those for my dinner. The same would apply to Russula ochroleuca, if it were worth eating.
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Re: Observations autumn 2012

Postby Stuart Bates » Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:58 pm

GeoffDann wrote:The same would apply to Russula ochroleuca, if it were worth eating.

The slugs certainly seem to think they are worth eating!! :D
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Re: Observations autumn 2012

Postby Leif Goodwin » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:42 pm

Sheila Lillie wrote:I am rather torn here now after reading all your responses to this debate as I think I am the only one who does not eat my finds and does this to try and record all fungi within the area I live.I am not sure if I can say what I am thinking as I do not wish to alienate myself from the group by discussing this further and end up annoying those who do forage to consume so I will bow out from this discussion gracefully :?

Sheila


No, you are not alone. Michael who runs the ABFG (with much help from others) has expressed his unease at the activities of some people. I used to eat fungi, but many years ago I was stopped in Windsor Great park by a noted naturalist, who pointed out the ban on collecting in the park, and the rarity of the boletes I had collected. Since then I took more care, and to be honest these days I rarely bother to collect for the table. I see nothing wrong with collecting the more common species, although I personally do not really get that excited over wild fungi. I think there are some people who hype fungi for their own reasons. I am thinking of people who charge a fortune for fungi courses/weekends, and well known chefs. (And I am not picking on Geoff D. here, he discourages over collecting, and as far as I know he does not charge a fortune.) The problem is that some nationalities have a tradition of collecting massive amounts and preserving them. So you might see one person collecting many carriers bags of fungi, which are subsequently bottled, salted or frozen. So whole areas can be denuded. No-one here likes that but equally I think there is a tolerance of modest collecting. And we do tolerate those who do not eat their finds. I hope ...
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Re: Observations autumn 2012

Postby GeoffDann » Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:08 pm

Leif Goodwin wrote: (And I am not picking on Geoff D. here, he discourages over collecting, and as far as I know he does not charge a fortune.)


I haven't earned much money doing this up until this point, and it hasn't been the purpose. It has been a subsidised hobby, not a full time job. I take small groups of people out who know each other, and I teach them about ecology at the same time as hopefully finding some fungi we can pick (one of my customers on Sunday had an ecology Ph.D which was quite interesting.)

There's no way I could ever make lots of money doing this on public access land, for the simple reason that the landowner would soon notice and either stop me from operating or charge me lots of money. That's the problem River Cottage has - it doesn't have enough land of its own to do this, and its a money-making brand that the local landowners aren't likely to miss if it turns up on their doorstep. The only way I can see to make a living out of this (and I have little choice but to try to do so, because I'm not likely to get any other job now) is running sessions in collaboration with the owners of things like, for example, large farms. Even then it would be done in an ecologically sensitive manner if I have anything to do with it.

ETA: Not that it makes the slightest sense to pick fungi unsustainably on your own land if you want to make money out of future fungi foraging events. On the contrary, you would surely do everything possible to increase the amount of edible fungi available, both by leaving some fruit bodies to disperse spores, and by increasing the available habitat (by leaving dead trees in place, for example.)
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Re: Observations autumn 2012

Postby Dave H-Tranter » Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:02 am

Welll I did the foodie forage walk at the weekend and started off with the usual info on filling minds rather than bellies. The 12 in attendance understood my stance and were quite prepared to take a little and leave the many so as to keep the balance in nature right. It ended up a really nice walk, a few bits to eat, a good bit of knowledge shared and I think some new respect had for the myco world. We stuck to the 20% rule - take 1 in 5, chatted about numerous non-edibles (which was far more interesting) and I left the group with the head chef to munch happily away after cooking the grub. It is all we can do - help people understand and hopefully show them how to pick responsibly. I try!

The feedback was good so same again next year. In fact this one seemed a rather more satisfying walk than just going oput recording - worth all leaders thinking about.

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Re: Observations autumn 2012

Postby GeoffDann » Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:49 pm

I have observed a clump of Pholiota squarrosa with the caps neatly chopped off, just like a Homo sapiens might do to a clump of Armillaria it fancied eating.

:geek:
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Re: Observations autumn 2012

Postby Stuart Bates » Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:56 am

GeoffDann wrote:I have observed a clump of Pholiota squarrosa with the caps neatly chopped off, just like a Homo sapiens might do to a clump of Armillaria it fancied eating.

:geek:


It grows in a clump at the base of a tree.... it's got to be honey fungus!! :lol:

I wonder how the digestive system reacts to P. squarrosa :?
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Re: Observations autumn 2012

Postby Sheila Lillie » Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:20 pm

Has anybody thought of growing there own fungi and if so what was the success rate as maybe this could be a way forward also what about some posters put up in problem areas in the relevant languages I am sure most public woodlands have notice boards at the entrance or even tape them to the tree's.I also thought maybe some of the TV programs like Autumn watch,country file ect could do an piece on the importance of not over picking ect and there are numerous magazines aimed at outdoor pursuits who may do the same if approached.

Just a thought
Sheila
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Re: Observations autumn 2012

Postby GeoffDann » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:26 am

I've thought about trying to grow fungi, but I don't have the space at the moment. Need that for vegetables!
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