Vermont Bar Journal, Vol. 40, No. 2 Vermont Bar Journal, Spring 2017, Volume 43, No. 1 - Page 11

JEB: Ah, so then it makes perfect sense why you came here. ARM: Yeah, right, with a notable excep- tion being truffles. JEB: So you mentioned Vermont Law School and it made me think of our read- ers, wondering where all these mushrooms are. Do you make a habit of sharing your knowledge or do you keep some of your special locations to yourself? ARM: I definitely am more generous with my knowledge than some people are. There are two basic elements of my teach- ing. First of all strategy --how do find these things and how do you identify them? Sec- ond—location. With patches or with good habitat, I will point people in the right di- rection or even take people on guided for- ays, where I will show them the right kind of habitat where they might look for certain species, and use their forager’s eyes to key in on the right ecosystem where you might see certain types of mushrooms. I do take people out because you first need to get a feel for where they grow and how they appear. With that said, I am not going to be telling you where to find my best mo- rel patch! It really can take decades to find the perfect patch and they are so valuable. Also there are people who will take every mushroom or wipe out a patch, so there is some understandable competition, espe- cially among the commercial hunters that get really fierce about it. JEB: So do people hire you to take them out in groups, like workshops? Or is it more informational focused on your website? I suppose I’m asking if it is a side business or a side passion? I guess it’s both, right? ARM: It is sort of both or somewhere between, but it is a small business. Dur- ing mushroom season weekends, we are booked with guided forays that we lead. Some are with venues like Shelburne Farms or Green Mountain Audubon or the North- east Organic Farm Association conferenc- es at UVM and UMass Amherst. We gave a talk at the Horticultural Society of New www.vtbar.org York in NYC where people were taking home shitake logs that they had to schlep on the subway afterwards. We have done workshops in all sorts of contexts. I actu- ally presented with the Cascade Mycolog- ical Society at one of their events just a few months ago in Oregon. We are most- ly based in the Northeast and Vermont is our focus. We travel and we will also take people to a patch of woods and lead a pri- vate guided foray. We announce the spots last minute because we find that if we an- nounce it too soon, everyone goes there and pre-picks the spot. We keep an eye on the conditions and find a good spot, good but not too good, because like you said, you don’t want to give away your one hon- ey hole. persuasions. Vermont is a great place for mushroom hunting and it’s not just the morels, although those are to me, a high- light. Porcini are delicious here. Black trum- pets are a very special and distinctive taste mushroom for beginners. Chanterelles are amazing along with chanterelle rela- tives like the yellow foot chanterelle and the hedgehog mushroom, which has a cap but beneath it doesn’t have any gills. The hedgehog has what are called teeth, al- most like little toothbrush bristles all un- der the bottom of the cap and that is also a delicious gourmet mushroom. We have almost all the best culinary species in the world, right here in Vermont. JEB: So for your guided forays or pop- up forays, how much notice do you give? Do people just check your website as a loy- al following? What is your website too, by the way? ARM: Oh, good question. Our website is www.themushroomforager.com. We do have a loyal following; people will follow our announcements and our workshops consistently fill up which is fun. I mean they are during a certain time of year when the conditions are right, but during that time of year, they are very popular and they sell out quickly. It just goes to show that there is a lot of passion for this and a lot of inter- est among many different types of people. Everyone from foodies and localvores to hunters who might have hunted deer their whole life but always wondered about the mushrooms, to people who might have a grandma or grandfather who was a mush- room hunter, or maybe they have relatives in an Eastern European country who im- migrated here, so all sorts of people who want to get into this are really excited to learn more. JEB: And when you predict bounties and locations on your website, what is it called? ARM: Oh, you mean the ForageCast? JEB: Yes. I love that name. ARM: We introduced the ForageCast probably 7 or 8 years ago near the begin- ning of the project. We post a list of dis- tinctive and delicious species that are fruit- ing in a given region at a certain time of year. If you know what is in season in your region, like maybe it’s September and you are hunting hen of the woods or lion’s mane, which are both gourmet and rela- tively distinctive, it helps to know where to look for it and how to look. What type of forest does it like or what does it grow on, where does it grow in relationship to other species. If you know what you are looking for and where to look and how to use your THE VERMONT BAR JOURNAL • SPRING 2017 11