Fungus Loving Hunters

Mushrooms
Capital At Play
August 2014

Alan Muskat, a self-proclaimed philosoforager, believes that anything but wild foods is bad for you. He often refers to “BC”—Before Costco, a time when we were all foragers. He is a wild foods educator and has successfully created a business in which he leads interested hunters and community members on wild food adventures. His company, No Taste Like Home, leads expeditions into the forest to correctly identify, harvest, appreciate, and eat wild plants and mushrooms.

Pink Oyster

Alan believes in cooperative foraging and views all of nature as friends and family. To him it is important to return to the traditional and natural way of eating. His philosophy touts not just a way to eat dinner, but a way of getting involved and creating a sense of home, of safety and belonging, and of ownership and caring. Through this process he feels that you can discover that most things are not dangerous.

That being said, Alan also urges potential foragers not just to refer to books and online information but to learn from a field guide. He says there are several thousand types of wild mushrooms on the continent and less than a dozen are known to be deadly. At least 300 might make you sick, sometimes to the point of warding off mushrooms or food altogether. Alan himself has unfortunately been exposed to the dark side mushrooms have to offer, yet it hasn’t deterred him from the hunt.

Knowledge is key in this industry, and in his book Wild Mushrooms, A Taste of Enchantment, Alan quotes Gary Lincoff, “every mushroom is edible—once.”