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Mushroom foraging with Alan Perello

Mushroom Foraging with Alan Perello

On this month’s feature of Logden Life, we met up Ymir’s own Alan Perello to learn more about wild mushroom foraging in the Kootenays!
What makes the Kootenays such a great location for mushroom foraging?
What makes it so special is that we don’t have so many valuable mushrooms that the commercial pickers are interested, so they tend to leave us alone. However, we do have an incredible variety and thousands of mushrooms grow in this valley!
What should someone expect when they go foraging?
Mushrooms are hard to predict, you need the rain otherwise you won’t have any mushrooms. This year it’s looking like it’s going to be great. On this side of the mountain, you can expect to find Amanita Mushrooms, Morels in the spring, Deer and Oyster Mushroom on the Aspen and other trees. In a rainy summer or fall, we get Pine Mushrooms also known as Matsutake, King boletes, and Admirable bolete. On a walk, you can expect to find up to 30-40 different mushrooms.

Any mushrooms, in particular, we should look for?

We’re a hot spot for Lobster mushrooms, which are bright orange and easy to spot. Nice to eat and texture! The host mushroom grows under the duff of the forest so even in a dry year, it finds moisture and turns into a Lobster Mushroom. Great for beginners and are hard to misidentify. Pine Mushrooms are also a treat and are very delicious with a unique flavor.

What do you like best about this area for Mushroom Foraging?
I like how you can always go out and come home with something. There is always something to find and my personal favourite is the Gypsy Mushroom. It usually wins the contest for the best-tasting mushroom. Even someone like me picking for a long time, I’ll find surprises so it’s exciting. Some people say it’s like an Easter egg hunt for adults!
When Alan isn’t foraging for mushrooms, he enjoys his free time with family and friends right here in Ymir. We’re so lucky to have Alan in our community and he is such a great resource. We appreciate you taking the time to share your passion with us and teach us a whole bunch along the way. For more about Mushroom Foraging watch our latest Logden Life episode below!