In this full-day workshop, we will learn about local bracket fungi, where to find them, and talk about the reported health benefits associated with the different polypore mushroom teas. We will begin with a nature hike at Two Meadows in St Andrews to learn how to identify the four major local bracket fungus, (turkey tail, tinder fungus, birch polypore, and red belted polypore). I will also discuss the highly prized chaga mushroom, commonly used for tea. The artist Conk Mushroom will also be mentioned. Topics for discussion include mushroom tea flavour, how the tea changes from season to season, and preferability. We will also discuss responsible harvesting. Samples of different polypore mushroom teas will be offered for tasting.
The afternoon will be devoted to culinary oyster mushroom cultivation, both indoors and outdoors. All steps to growing mushrooms at home will be covered from preparing the grain, grain inoculation, substrate choice, preparation, and inoculation. Growing conditions, yields, and identifying contamination will also be discussed. I will talk about my personal experiences and obstacles when growing gourmet mushrooms at home. I will be talking about growing conditions and reported health benefits of each gourmet mushroom, from the cordyceps mushroom to the lion’s mane, shiitake, turkey tail, and various gourmet oyster mushrooms. Participants will end the day by making their own gourmet oyster mushroom grow bag to take home. The oyster mushroom spawns to build the grow bags will be the pink oyster, blue oyster, or elm oyster, upon availability. Pasteurized straw, mushroom spawn, bag, and filter material will be provided.