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By Laura Stec

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About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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Fungus are Among Us

Uploaded: Jan 9, 2020

The rains are upon us, and that means mushrooms will be popping up in our forests and neighborhoods. Come find out the name of that mushroom growing next to your front door at the 46th annual Santa Cruz Fungus Fair, happening Jan 1 0 - 12. (pick the mushroom and bring it to the fair for proper ID).

The Food Party! loves meshing with mushrooms. A few years ago we joined Fungus Fair sponsors, Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz, on one of their forages to Mendocino. Read about it in The Thrill of the Hunt. Forages are open to all members of the society, and membership is easier than you think - only $20 to join or renew. It’s a wild and fun group of folks with the mission to keep the “fun in fungi.”

For those who prefer to stay local, make a day of it in Santa Cruz this weekend and explore the fascinating world of mushrooms at the fair, where you will learn about the hundreds of beautiful and fascinating species of mushrooms found in the Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay area. See an entire room of participant-picked local fungi, re-created into an amazing display of woodland habitat, and experience talks, food demonstrations, and activities for the whole family.

Featured speakers include Dr. Christopher Hobbs, renowned author and medicinal mushroom expert and Dr. Roo Vandegrift, a National Geographic Explorer grant recipient for his continuing biodiversity and conservation research of the threatened Andean cloud forest reserve.


FFSC mushroom experts will be available throughout the fair to identify the mushrooms you’ve found. Bring yours, ideally stored in a paper bag rather than plastic. Paper allows fungi to "breathe" and keeps them fresher.

Visit the Kid's Room for mushroom activities such as clay sculpture, water colors, face painting, mushroom art and making mushroom dyed fabric. Available Saturday and Sunday.

Visit the Vendor Rooms to find a phenomenal assortment of food, books, fresh and dried wild mushrooms, growing kits, artwork, mushroom-dyed silks, jewelry and more. Also food vendors are located throughout the venue.

Attend the After Hours Mushroom Dinner, a catered, multi-course sit down dinner with live music. Each course will be paired with wine. Always a sell-out, separate Admission is required. See website for details.


Friday January 10, 2 PM – 6PM
Saturday and Sunday, January 11 &12, 10 AM – 5 PM
Louden Nelson Community Center, 301 Center Street, Santa Cruz, CA
Admission: General $10, Seniors (60+)/Students $5, Kids under 12 free with adult admission
Friday Admission: $5 for everyone

If you can’t make the fair, you can still catch the incredible new movie Fantastic Fungi, showing in San Francisco, at the Roxie theatre till January 16.

photos by LSIC

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Posted by Resident, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Jan 11, 2020 at 5:58 am

You have to buy a permit and display it on your car so you can legally pick mushrooms?? Are you f'in kidding me.


Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Jan 11, 2020 at 8:08 am

Yes resident there are rules for each county, so contact the county you plan to go and ask where you can pick and what is needed. And remember - no picking in state parks, no picking on private property. unless you own it!

Posted by Reader 2020, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Jan 11, 2020 at 10:09 am


Every hear of hiking or fishing licenses?

Same thing.

Posted by Reader 2020, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Jan 11, 2020 at 10:11 am

Oops, I mean hunting licenses.

Hiking permits are a different story but sometimes required, like access to the Kalalau Trail on the Napali Coast in Kaua'i.

Same with camping.

Same with driving for that matter. It's a privilege not a right.

Posted by Ignorance Exposed, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Jan 13, 2020 at 2:15 pm

I love it when someone laughs at something he thinks is dumb, and when he does, everyone else sees how dumb HE actually is. That happens here sometimes LOL :)

Posted by Forget It, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jan 14, 2020 at 3:43 pm

Very dangerous to eat wild mushrooms...even the experts get fooled at times & die.

Bad mushrooms can easily destroy the to get them at the grocery store.

Posted by Wait for it, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Jan 15, 2020 at 1:42 pm

There are some toxic mushrooms that mimic a sought after variety. This is the main culprit in the yearly mushroom poisoning stories that come across the news this time of year.

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