2014 Foray Report
The 2014 Mushroom Foray. Sept 26-28, Wallace Nova Scotia

The 2014 mushroom foray was held in Wallace  on the Northumberland Strait. The event was very well documented by John Crabtree (a NSMS board member and trail leader) on his very interesting website.   There were also lots of good pictures posted on our Facebook page.

Now, to my amazement it is July the following year.   Better late than never!   Hope to see you at the 2015 Foray,which will be held in two months, Sept 25-27 September 2015, at The Deanery in Ship Harbour.

Welcome to Wallace by the Sea!
Briefly,  a successful foray was had.  Key here was having enough mushrooms on the trails and excellent mushroom taxonomists.  Dr. Leonard Hutchison came from Lakehead University and Dr. David Malloch and Amanda Bremner from the New Brunswick Museum .  In addition, we had our ‘local’ experts.  Dr. Scott Cunningham,  Dr. Gavin Kernaghan, Gary Gilbert, and others. Accomodations were a challenge since Octoberfest was held in nearby Tatamagouch on the the same weekend.  (Why not in October?).   However, adequate numbers of rooms were found. Some people had a great time camping (with beach fire) on the Boyle’s field.  (Free too!).

The event started off on Friday evening on the grounds of the Wallace Museum.  After our AGM , in which it was determined that we were not (yet )out of money, we had  our traditional ‘cook off’.  Finger foods and ‘campfire cook-ables’ were provided.  Included were lots of wild and cultivated mushrooms to challenge the mushroom chefs in the group. Wine was from Jost and beer from Tatamagouche Brewing Company.  BBQ’s and coals were lit and after attendees adjusted to the fact they would have to cook for themselves, the fun and eating commenced.  A big hit was the mushroom sliders BBQ’d by Bruce Stewart and various helpers.  Appetites were abated and friendships were (re) kindled. 

On Saturday morning things re-commenced with an excellent breakfast. This and all subsequent meals were prepared in the Wallace Community Hall by Dianne Fraser, Jeff Hoyle and their very competent cooking staff.    Many courses contained wild mushrooms, or mushrooms from Valley Mushrooms, c/o Leonard North.   Food was delicious! 

After breakfast and a few introductory talks about how to collect mushrooms, groups of  ca 10 people went to the various trails with trail leaders.  Most trails were near Wallace, although Dr. Gavin Kernaghan took one group of adventurous pickers up to a more “challenging” trail in Wentworth. 

Trail leaders showed people how to properly collect the mushrooms so they could subsequentially be accurately identified (and possibly eaten) after returning to Wallace Hall.  Edible mushrooms (including lots of chanterelles) were found and collected but ecological roles of the mushrooms were also discussed.  For example, many of the woods mushrooms (including chanterelles) are ‘mycorrhizal’, forming symbiotic associations with trees.

Bruce Stewart (NSMS president) talking to friends.
The cooks in the kitchen.
Chanterelles ready for the pot.
Mushrooms from the trails were brought back to Wallace Community Hall.  Participants were given a  talk by Dr. Gavin Kernaghan, about how to identify them.  There are literally thousands of mushroom species in Nova Scotia, so identification often requires the use of taxonomic keys and possibly microscopes, special stains, etc.  Amanda Bremner and Dr. David Malloch from the New Brunswick Museum of Natural History showed people how to use microscopes as a part of the process for identifying some mushrooms.   Dr. Leonard Hutchison was rather incredible for his ability many of the mushrooms that were collected, even without keys.

By the end of the day about 100 different mushroom species had been identified.  Samples of each species were photographed by Catherine Pross , who has been our expert photographer on all NSMS forays.  (We are extremely grateful).  Samples were also dried so that they could subsequently be part of an ongoing collection being made by NSMS.
Dr. Leonard Hutchison leading a group on the trail.   
   Back in Wallace Hall.

After all the identification work, it was time for the annual banquet.  Dianne Fraser and her crew made a fantastic meal which we in fine style.  An after dinner talk was given by David Malloch, in which he discussed the rather amazingly large and complex genus Cortinarius .  Many of this genus had been found during the day, including what may have been new species.  Leonard Hutchison then gave an outstanding talk describing the hypogeous fungi called Truffles.  Yes, we have truffles in Nova Scotia!

Sunday started with another great breakfast, and then we had workshops following mushroom-related themes. 

David Malloch divulging some of the secrets of the mushrooms genus Cortinarius.

One of the most popular was the ‘pick for the pot’.  Participants were taken to the field and edible mushrooms were collected.   Dr. Scott Cunningham and Gary Gilbert are both very experienced collectors and people came home with a good haul of edibles.
Another  workshop was about growing mushrooms. 

Leonard Hutchison  introducing the world of truffles.
Here, David Boyle described some of his experiences with growing edible wood decay mushrooms including oyster mushrooms, shiitake, lions mane, etc.  Participants inoculated logs with shiitake spawn, and were shown some shiitake growing in David’s woodlot.  Lions Mane mushrooms on birch logs were also of interest.
Lions mane mushrooms that were grown on birch logs.
Another workshop introduced the use of mushrooms for fabric dyeing.   Anna Heywood-Jones, who is a Masters student at NASCAD helped participants with extracting some dyes from a variety of mushrooms that had been collected during the foray.  Some of these made rather stunning colours. This is an area that will be explored further at The Deanery, Ship Harbour, during the 2015 foray.

So, hope to see you all at The Deanery, September 25-27 for what we anticipate will be our best foray yet!
David Boyle,  Treasurer, NSMS.
Fabric samples dyed with lobster mushrooms