Mushroom Identification and Food Safety Certification

Control of what mushrooms show up on peoples’ plates in restaurants and in grocery stores is a food safety issue. There are poisonings every year where the picker, wholesaler, and preparer didn’t know the difference between a wonderful meal and a very sick person or worse. Despite the dangers, we as fungiphiles want to enjoy in public places the bounty that foraging provides. This discussion hopes to at least inform others of the issues and current status.                                            To begin, these rules only apply to people who want to sell wild-picked mushrooms, not cultivated oysters, etc. So if you sell some of what you grow, relax. Different food handling regulations apply when you are selling a threshold level of mushrooms. For personal-use identification training, there are less expensive, more extensive, and more enjoyable ways to learn mushroom identification like going on forays with clubs.   In the absence of FDA regulations, the states control this issue, and they generally have ‘better’ things to do, so it generally gets relegated to the mushrooming community. Probably a wise move. This is the case in Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio in the Great Lakes Region. Wisconsin has a “personal use only” policy but has worked with the Minnesota training in the past. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) mandates food safety rules, albeit sanctioning only part of the types that get sold. As in many places, there may be implicit acceptance of sales which no one objects. To my knowledge, a complete list of how this plays out around the continent exists only in a few peoples’ minds although such a compilation has been proposed at NAMA several times. For those of a libertarian bent, any rules that control that may be anathema. Recently in Michigan a law to forbid regulation of mushroom sales got as far as the governors desk, which was vetoed to the general relief of the mushrooming community there. Such contentiousness has risen in many places around the country, especially around certification training. In Minnesota, the work group that developed the training went through several iterations before the current training by the Minnesota Mycological Society, upcoming in March 2017.             Anecdotally, reports of the trainings have been good in general. Complaints have been for the cost and also “Why do I have to learn about fungi in general. Why can’t you just teach me the ones I want to pick?” which may show a lack of knowledge in itself.    So if turning your joy into a living has occurred to you, certainly follow your dream… an enlightened manner.

Lake Bemidji State Park Foray Sat., Oct. 1, 10 AM, Followed by Pot Luck and Silent Auction

Note:  Guests interested in finding out about the club and about mushrooms are welcome!

On Saturday we will gather at Lake Bemidji State Park at the log mess hall at the north camping/parking loop. The main entrance to the park is located on County Highway 20 on the north side of Lake Bemidji. A parking pass or annual state park pass is required for admission to the park and both are available at the park entrance. Please bring your own beverage, a dish to share and if you wish, something for the silent auction.

The foray will be at 10 a.m. followed by the potluck and the silent auction. Among other things, we will be auctioning off many mushroom guides and mushroom themed items that belonged to our dear colleague Rosa Stolzenburg. The auction will close at 2 p.m.

We will continue to meet over the winter and will send out notices of the meeting topics and locations. 2017 memberships can be sent in anytime after January 1, 2017.

Report on Sept. 17th Foray

Our September Foray was well attended with 21 participants!

We had some newer members as well, welcome to Gene and Jean, Sandy and Ray and Ray and Margo, Holly as well as David and Keith, Terry and Faith. It was also nice to see some previous members again.

It was a beautiful fall day with leaves just turning the vivid colors people drive long distances to see.

Sharon spotted a baby snapping turtle, and  also scared up a Ruffed grouse.

There were a lot of mushroom species found: Russula, Cortinarius, some Armilaria  ( Honey Mushroom), 3 kinds of Cantharellus, Lactarius, Suillus, Leccinum, Hygrocybe, Amanitas, Tricholomas, Pholiotas, Coprinus, Cortinarius, Polyporus, Hydnum, Lycoperdon (puffballs)and others.

Sharon and Doug Gilbertson shared some of the freshly grown Shitakes with the group, thank you!

Elizabeth was  on her way out when she “heard something calling to her from the woods”, she stopped the car, walked into the woods and spotted a  nice Griffola Frondosa (Hen of the woods).

She then generously shared with those of us who were lucky enough to be the last to go home!

All in all, it was a fun gathering and everyone learned something new.

Thanks to all for attending!

Paula Peters

9-17-16 foray David Baird photosPhotos by David Baird

In Memoriam: Rosa Stolzenberg

Rosa at April, 2016 Pot LuckPhoto: Rosa at the April, 2016 Pot Luck meeting.


We recently lost a good friend and teacher. Rosa Stolzenberg passed away May 31, 2016, shortly after our morel foray. She was a founding member of the PBMC. We will miss her smile, her laughter, and her knowledge, all of which she was generoius with.  Here is a link to her obituary:!/

First Foray of the Year!

Saturday, May 21, 10 AM  Morel Foray

This foray will be in the Akeley area. Members receive emails with specific directions.  If you are not yet a member and would like to join (see Membership Page) and need location information contact the leader of the foray, Anita Linberger  (; 218-270-0690).


***List of 2016 forays is available on Calendar of Forays page***


Spring Pot Luck Sat., Apr. 30, 11:30AM

Spring is finally here and we can almost taste the morels….

We’ll be gathering just south of Bemidji at the Helga Township Community Center (The Old Nary School) at 11:30 a.m.on Saturday, April 30 to enjoy some good food and talk mushrooms! Please bring a dish to share.

The highlight of our gathering will surely be a mushroom cooking demo by Catherine McGoldrick and Paula Peters. We’ll go over our foray dates and locations for the summer, starting with our morel foray in May.

The Helga Center is located at Nary, which is about 7 miles south of Bemidji. From 71, go east on County Hwy 9 for 2-3 miles. The Center is on the south side of the road. See you there!

Pot Luck Meeting Sat., March 26, 11:30 AM

We’ll have a potluck meeting at noon at the home of member John Mikesh to discuss our coming forays.The agenda will be loose, there will be good food and great conversation.  Hope to see you there – directions are below.
Our April 30th meeting will be at Helga Township Hall in Nary.   We’ll start with a potluck at 11:30 AM with a mushroom cooking demonstration by Paula and Catherine.

Directions to John’s house:

Take Hwy 371 to Crow Wing County Hwy 16, one mile north of Pequot Lakes. Go 6 miles east on 16 to Ruttger Road. Go 1 mile north on Ruttger Rd to Fish Hook Pt. Take a right, then another right following 8316 signs past two houses to 8316 Fish Hook Pt.

  • County 16 is 20 miles north of Brainerd and 40 miles south of Walker.   If you need additional information, you can reach John at 218-543-4114.

Feb. 27 Meeting: Food, Fellowship and Something to Chew On

Join us at the home of John Mikesh near Pequot Lakes at noon on Saturday, Feb. 27. Bring a dish to share and any mushroom resources (books,website addresses, DVDs, etc.) you find interesting and/or helpful.

Directions to John’s House:  Take Hwy 371 to Crow Wing County Hwy 16, one mile north of Pequot Lakes. Go 6 miles east on 16 to Ruttger Road. Go 1 mile north on Ruttger Rd. to Fish Hook Pt. Take a right, then another right following 8316 signs past two houses to 8316 Fish Hook Pt.   County 16 is 20 miles north of Brainerd and 40 miles south of Walker. If you need additional information, you can reach John at 218-543-4114.

Save the dates: Future winter meetings are scheduled for March 26 and April 30. Watch for more information.

First winter meeting and potluck lunch: Sat., Jan. 9, Noon

Location: Home of Paula Peters in Nary, 26012 Co. Rd. 9, Bemidji. County 9 is around 5 miles south of US 2. Nary is 2 miles east on Co. 9.

We will start with a potluck lunch. Bring something to share. Following lunch there will be a general membership business meeting, during which we will set future meeting and Foray dates. We will also be looking at program topics for the winter meetings. Please come prepared to share your ideas about programs, and you may offer additional agenda items.

Message from Audrey Kepp, President

Here is a message from our President.  Some highlights:

  • There will be no Fall Banquet.
  • There are plans to have annual “End-of-Season galas” in the future:  following the last foray of the season, a special  pot-luck.
  • Forays will be scheduled on Saturdays and will start at 10 AM.
  • First winter meeting will be Sat., January 9.


Paul Bunyan Mushroom club’s last foray of the season was at Bemidji State Park.  We had good weather, and in spite of recent dry weather, a fair assortment of fungi were gathered. We concluded the season with a potluck meal and social hour.

Your executive committee met and considered a few issues.  First, we have reluctantly abandoned the traditional fall Banquet.  The cost was just too prohibitive, and many members indicated that they would not want to pay close to $50 dollars a plate.  Everyone enjoyed our potluck so much that we decided to make that our end-of-season gala from now on.  It will be held in conjunction with our last foray of the year.  Everyone can choose to attend the foray, the potluck, or both.  Second, our meeting time and day will move to Saturdays at 10:00 A.M.  Some members had requested a later time, as several people have to come a long way.  Moving the meeting day to Saturday will make it possible for people with Sunday commitments to join the fun.  Of course we can still schedule forays at other times when appropriate.

Our first winter meeting will be January 9, 2016.  Paula Peters will host the meeting at her house.  Members will get an email with particulars in December.  There will be a general membership business meeting. We will set future meeting and Foray dates. We will also be looking at program topics for the winter meetings.  Please come prepared to share your ideas about programs, and you may offer additional agenda items.

We are celebrating a growing membership and an infusion of new blood.  I need to express my appreciation for the experience mushroom hunters among us who generously teach the rest of us.  I am also excited about the new members who add so much to our gatherings.  Thank you all.

Audrey Kepp, President

Last Foray of the Season — October 4th Bemidji State Park

final foray 2015We had a great final foray October 4th at Bemidji State park.

Pictured are Anita Linberger, Kae Bergeson, Paula Peters and Sheila Capistran.

The changing leaves were beautiful and the weather perfect for mushroom foraging.

Michael Blassey and Catherine McGoldrick started a fire in fireplace in the Dining hall for us as they were camping there along with new members Ray Holm and Sandy Sonja .
They scouted out he area and directed us to some fine picking!

20 people participated and we found a nice variety, quite a few edibles as well including Suillus cavipe and Suillus spraguei, Cantharellus tubaeformis and Craterellus fallax.

We spent an hour and a half tromping through the woods then came back to the dining hall and enjoyed an impressive pot luck full of succulent dishes of every variety.

We mushroom foragers definitely know how to cook!

Sad to see the season end.

Paula Peters

Club in the News

The day’s bounty yielded a wide variety of mushrooms. Russula, seen in the foreground, comprised the largest portion. There are about 1,000 species of russula, explained John Mikesh, that can only be distinquished by their dust-like spores under a microscope. Even though they are favored in eastern Europe, they typically aren’t eaten in Minnesota. Some have a mild taste, some chalky. Russula are pickled and eaten as a Christmas treat in Siberia. (Shannon Geisen)

Incredible edibles: Paul Bunyan Mushroom Club studies fungi

Here’s the address for the full article:

Thank you to Shannon Geisen for the nice article!

First 2015 Foray: Morel Foray at Hwy 64 North of Akeley Sun., May 17; and Note from new President

The Paul Bunyan Mushroom Club is entering a new era, thanks to a dedicated group who worked through the winter to help us organize a streamlined and, we hope, more cohesive club. New officers have been elected and plans made for this season’s forays. Our new roster of officers includes Paula Peters as past president, Audrey Kepp as president, Michael Blassey as vice president, Rosa Stolzenberg as secretary, and Mary Mitchell as treasurer. As your new president, I am delighted to work with them. As a newer member (I joined just a year ago,) I have to express my great pleasure in in being part of this wonderful club and thank you all for your support.

Our first foray will be Sunday, May 17th at 9 a.m. north of Akeley on Hwy 64. The directions are included below. This message is being sent to everyone on our email list, but in the future, our messages will be sent to members only. If you wish to receive future notices you must join the club. Membership is just $10 for individuals and $15 for families. You can join by downloading a membership form from the club blog (  (click on Membership Form on banner above, just under photo) and mailing it with payment to:
Mary Mitchell
311 Richards Ave NE
Bemidji, MN 56601

Better yet, bring it with you to the foray on the 17th. Paula Peters, who will lead the foray, will collect it then.

Looking forward to meeting you!


Directions to May 17, 9 AM Morel Foray:
State Hwy 64, 11 miles north of Akeley or 4 miles south of intersection 200 and 64 south of Bemidji.
It is between mile markers 59 and 60 and will be on the east side of Hwy 64.


Annual Meeting and Potluck 11 AM Sun., April 26 at Helga Township Hall, Nary

11 AM Sunday, April 26, Helga Township Hall, Nary (south of Bemidji, on County Hwy 9, 2 miles east of US 71)

This is the year the Paul Bunyan Mushroom Club becomes officially organized!
Our winter meetings were spent working out the details and we are now ready to bring our Club to the next level.

It’s very exciting and we hope that you will consider joining us as we meet for our Annual Potluck on April 26th at 11:00 a.m. at the Helga Township Community Center 25895 County 9. Bemidji, MN. From Bemidji, travel four miles south of the Highway 2/Highway 71 intersection and turn east (left) onto Hubbard County Road 9. The Center is located two miles down on the right. We will have our Annual Meeting first, followed by the potluck.

The food doesn’t have to include mushrooms, but if you want to make a dish with them, that’s great! The Center is equipped with a kitchen with ovens, a microwave and a refrigerator to keep food warm or cold.

We will be nominating and electing our officers so please consider becoming more involved in the club this year. We will need a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Along with the election we will go over the Foray dates for the upcoming season, and take memberships. Becoming a member will not only keep you informed of Forays and educational opportunities – you’ll be part of a really cool bunch of people who love the woods and want to learn more about identifying wild mushrooms.
(For a copy of the membership form, click on “Membership Form” on the banner above, below the photo.)

Organizational meeting Sun., Feb. 22, 1 PM, Akeley Fire Hall

Great News!

The Paul Bunyan Mushroom Club now has a Tax ID number and bank account! This makes us an “Official Club” As of February 3rd 2015!



Our meeting in January was fun and productive. We formed committees to work on organization, education, forays and events. And…we had an amazing potluck meal!

At our next meeting on February 22 we’ll refine our plans and we welcome anyone interested in helping us.

February Meeting: 1 PM Sunday February 22 at the Akeley Fire Hall, Main Street, Akeley MN
Please enter through the left side of the building.
And…don’t forget to bring something to share for the pot luck!

Organizational Meeting Sun., Jan. 11, Akeley Fire Hall

Happy Holidays to all participants of past wild mushroom forays with the Paul Bunyan Mushroom Club!

As we look forward to another great year of mushroom hunting, our club is working to become more organized.

We are asking for help in this process so that we can offer more education, fun events and recognition as an official club.

We have a meeting scheduled for Sunday, January 11th at 1 PM at the Akeley Fire Hall which is located about a block west of the big Paul Bunyan statue on Hwy 34 downtown Akeley. We will have a pot luck lunch followed by the meeting.

We are hoping to set up the following committees:

  • An Organizational  Committee to work on setting up by laws, a mission statement, establishing a bank account, defining roles of elected officials, planning an election for 2015, and issues related to membership dues
  • A Committee to work on the format of the remaining winter meetings (once a month, February through APRIL)
  • A Foray Committee to plan the forays for next summer.
  • An Educational Committee to help our members gain skills in identification at forays.
  • A Fundraising Committee to help plan events like the silent auction,  possible basic identification classes, weekend events, speakers at meetings.
  • A Communications Committee to work on how we get the word out to others about our club and activities.

If you are interested but can’t attend the meeting, please email me and I will get you connected with others working on these areas.

With the increased interest and new people attending our events, our club is poised for growth and potential in the New Year.

Please join us as the Paul Bunyan Mushroom Club moves into 2015!

Paula Peters, Acting President 

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.”
—– A. A. Milne


Report on Sept. 7 Foray and Cooking Demonstration — Bemidji State Park

We had a very successful foray at Bemidji State Park, finding many varieties of mushrooms.


Paula Peters preparing people for the foray
A few of the mushrooms found


Kelly Larson did a fantastic cooking demonstration, preparing a three-course meal. The appetizer consisted of chanterelles sautéed with olive oil and minced shallots and run through a food processor with cream cheese and goat cheese, on crackers, some garnished with fig spread and mango chutney and some garnished with a slice of dried apricot.

Kelly Larson presenting her three-course meal plan Continue reading “Report on Sept. 7 Foray and Cooking Demonstration — Bemidji State Park”