Oh what fun we had foraging in the forest with Vera! But as over-picking has now fungally impoverished many areas we mostly refrained from gathering them to eat. It wasn’t just about the fungi; lots of common weeds like nettles and ground elder are amazingly nutritious in spring and autumn, in particular the fresh young growth of the top 6 leaves.
We learned about the symbiotic relationship between many aspects of the environment with special focus on how saprophytic fungi help to break down dead wood, mycorrhizal fungi help to feed trees by extending their root systems and making minerals available to the host plant, whilst parasitic fungi (like the almost edible honey fungus) actively kill trees.
Vera encouraged us to only pick well under 50% of those that were plentiful and easy to identify. We had a great turnout on a pleasant autumn day and had a lovely walk in the woods with friends old and new.
NOTE: Do not handle, pick or eat any fungi unless you have sufficient training from an expert to do so. Some fungi are poisonous, even if touched. If in doubt, do not pick.
For more information about Vera and the Brighton Food Partnership click here.
Photos courtesy of Bhogg member Coco