The Vivacious Life and Troubling Death of Mushrooms
May 18, 2011
I feel bad for the toll booth attendees who have to choke down several giant clouds of exhaust as part of their daily intake, but I pity folks who are allergic—or even just a little adverse—to mushrooms. After all, those folks taking your bridge toll are rotated out regularly to dampen the tax on their systems, but the friends who fear fungi are facing a life sentence without chanterelles, candy caps, truffles and trumpets.
But even though this recent burst of rain will give us another round of mushroom hunting in Del Monte Forest and the Ventana Wilderness, among other treasured territories, a recent piece from our independent brethren at East Bay Express reveals with an "Eco Watch" piece called "The Slow Death of Mushrooms," a conspiracy of factors including pesticides, sprawl and sudden oak death are bringing doom and shroom into the same sentence.
"It's just gotten so bad," the piece quotes a former president of the Mycological Society of San Francisco, a group of mycologists, mushroom buffs, and amateur collectors. "Production in areas I've collected in is down to less than 5 percent, maybe 2 percent, and the days when I collected a huge surplus—those days are done."
But before we plunge too deeply into dark, shitty world of mushroom death, there is a lively fungi festival just over the hill that I hadn't heard of previously, even though the Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras is in its 32nd year.
Next weekend, May 28-29, there's a boom of live music, a fun run, a beer garden and art installations.
But the most important things to consider are two-fold. 1) Admission is free. And 2) The food is seemingly endless, and includes Cajun deep-fried mushrooms, mushroom chowmein, stuffed portobello caps, mushroom burgers, shroom-and-sundried tomato quesadillas and oh so much more.