Report on April 13 Pot Luck and Meeting

Our annual pot luck lunch and meeting was held April 13 at the Helga Township Community Center in Nary, south of Bemidji.  As usual, we had a good selection of dishes, many of which used mushrooms.

Getting the food ready in the Helga Twp Community Center kitchen

Presentation on Cultivation by Mike Kempenich

Anna Gerenday brought Mike Kempenich from the Twin Cities and he did an informative and fascinating presentation on mushroom cultivation. Mike is a long time mushroom hunter and cultivator and now has a business selling cultivated and collected mushrooms, The Mikeology Store (  He focuses on growing the best and most beautiful mushrooms and delivering them quickly to customers. His clients include many fine Twin Cities restaurants. Mike also manages the Minnesota Mushroom Forum on Facebook.

In the photo below he showed us a Hericium (Goat’s Beard) mushroom he cultivated in rye grain and wheat straw in a plastic bag with a filter patch to allow some air exchange.  When mycelae developed he put a hole in the bag.  And here you can see the results.

Mike Kempenich with Hericium (Goat’s Beard) he cultivated.


Kelly Larson on “The Safe Six”

Paul Bunyan Mushroom Club member Kelly Larson showed us the display and handouts she uses in a presentation on mushrooms she callsThe Safe Six.


Fall Mushroom Banquet a Great Event

Part of the group gathered at the Ranch House. Here Anna Gerenday is taking photos. Earlier she spoke about the mushrooms used.

A record number, 58 of us, gathered at the Ranch House on November 17th, 2012, for the seventh Paul Bunyan Mushroom Club Fall Banquet. It was a great success.  Some of us were members of the club, some were people who have joined us at some dinners in the past, and some were new guests interested in experiencing some fine mushroom cookery.

The Ranch House prepared a splendid dinner for us. It started with a social hour with appetizers. Most included mushrooms in their preparation.  The Green Scene, an organic produce store and deli in Walker which helped the Ranch House in planning some vegan alternatives, provided a delicious dip which included chaga as one of its ingredients.  As luck would have it we had a portion of the chaga that had been found on one of our summer forays to display at the dinner.

Anna Gerenday spoke to the group about the mushrooms used in the preparation of the dinner, and answered questions that people at the dinner had about the mushrooms.

The main course alternatives included “Chicken Supreme,” which included chanterelles, Oyster mushrooms surrounded by scallops and jumbo shrimps, and a vegan stuffed Portobello mushroom. A soup was served that used Maitake mushrooms, and the salad included King Trumpet mushrooms.

We are thankful to the Ranch House owner and staff for being a wonderful home for our fall mushroom banquets.

Greenish-blue mushroom in Sept. 22 post identified

Just in case you’re not following the replies (you have o click on the reply link at the end of posts), Anna Garenday has posted the following, with interesting information about the greenish-blue mushroom in the picture:

“The greenish blue mushroom is Chlorociboria aeruginacens, the green staining fungus of wood that used to be utilized by artisans of the 17th and 18th century in their intarsia designs. See Tom Volk’s account of this fungus; Tom also includes images of intarsia designs. His site: Anna”

September 22 Foothills State Forest Foray

Participants in the September 22nd foray explored different parts of the park.  We came up with a bigger collection than expected, given the very dry weather

One of the participants collected a piece of chaga, a mushroom/fungus that grows on birch trees. It’s pretty tough, and you need a good knife or axe to collect it.  It is regarded as having medicinal properties, and in Russia, in particular, people make a tea out of it and drink it. Ernie, who collected this specimen, has been drinking chaga tea regularly, but adds some fruit juice to make it more palatable.  If your curiosity is piqued, there’s an article in Wikipedia about chaga. (The title is Inonotus obliquus.)

Ernie Cunningham with the piece of chaga he collected. Thank you to Linda Rasmussen for the photo.

Here’s an interesting blue mushroom that was found.  Note how it colors the wood on which it grows.  I’ll add the name once I have it. [Anna Garenday has identified this as Chlorociboria aeruginacens. If you click on replies at the end of this Sept. 22 post you can see her message.  It includes information about the mushroom being used to color wood in wood art in the Middle Ages.] Thanks again to Linda Rasmussen for the photo.  I brought my camera but forgot the memory card.

Sept. 8, 2012 Coffee Pot Landing/LaSalle Lake State Park Foray

It’s been dry, so we didn’t find as many mushrooms as we would have hoped for during today’s foray.  About 20 of us gathered and Ray Newman described the areas most promising for finding mushrooms. The whole area had been very hard hit by the July 2 wind storm, and there were many trees blown down. Some places were still hard to get through.

There was a plan to cook some mushrooms after the foray. Luck came our way:  a woman who works at the state park,  learning of our search for mushrooms, told Ray she had seen a tree with some huge growths on a tree and didn’t know what they were.  When Ray asked if it was orange in color. Yes, she said.  He said they were sulfur shelf or chicken of he woods mushrooms, and invited her to get one from the tree and bring it over to Coffee Pot Landing.  Here’s what she and another person working at the state park brought:

Issac, youngest person on the foray, checks out a chicken of the woods mushroom.

After the group admired this windfall of mushrooms Paula Peters cut some up and John Mikesh cooked some with garlic, fresh ginger and olive oil.  The mushrooms were serve on on slices of a whole wheat sourdough baguette John had made.