Mushroom Foraging in Mendocino County, CA

In late November of 2012 I had the fortune of attending a guided mushroom foraging expedition with Forage SF:

DISCLAIMER:  If you have never foraged before, especially for something as potentially deadly as mushrooms, it is imperative that you go with a trained guide.

The location was about 3.5 hours north  of San Francisco, in Mendocino County. My good friend Clifton Su, also a cook, joined me. We stopped at Model Bakery in Saint Helena to grab a couple of coissants for the long drive ahead of us. I will say this, albeit totally delicious, coissants do NOT make the best road trip food. By the end of the crusty, buttery treat, my car looked like a coissant storm had rolled in and left a nice dusting of flakes behind.


After about 3 hours on the highway, we turned off into the hills. The paved road quickly melted into a gravel path, which turned in to a dirt trail winding its way in to the back country of Mendocino.

the drive in the hills

Our small group gathered at an old cabin in the woods to talk about our gameplan.

cabinbox shroom skull

Because Clifton and I were inexperienced mushroom foragers, we relied heavily on the knowledge of Kevin, our guide. His words to live by, “Little brown, put it down!” Meaning most little brown mushrooms with gills underneath are inedible and poisonous.

kevin magic

This was a truly magical experience. Spending hours trompsing around a forest, basket in hand, on the lookout for wild mushrooms!


SUCCESS! Porcinis and Chanterells

porcini perfect chantrelle

Oyster and Coral

oyster coral

Witches Butter and more Coral

witches butter more coral

Clifton and I had a day to remember!!

Big Daddy Porciniasian clif  Porcinis

We must have been good hunter-gatherers as cavemen because we came back with some serious bounty

Loot our bounty

As the sun began to sink low into the winter sky, we headed home. Exhausted and hungry, we stopped for dinner in Healdsburg at Scopa and had one of the BEST pizzas ever

the drive home pizza scopa

I can get use to this foraging thing 😉

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

~Albert Einstein

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