Handing the myco-baton to the young

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NEW GENERATION … It was a grand celebration at the Telluride Mushroom Festival last month – the 37th time fungophiles have gathered in San Miguel County to foray for shrooms in the surrounding hills. To meet and listen to experts detail the many guises of the fungal kindom [sic]. And to be taught the awe and wonder of all that mushrooms can do and are doing in our interconnected world … This year’s Salzman Award went to Tony and Wendi Corbin and in memory of their dad John Corbin – a mushroom- cultivation pioneer who brought a wealth of information and a heart of gold to Shroomfest until his passing in 2009. Tony, who lives in Kansas City, has been coming every year since he was 5 to lead forays and enjoy the company of old friends … Britt Bunyard gave his Executive Director Award to Graham Steinruck of Boulder, whose gourmet mushroom dinners were one of the event’s highlights, and who has worked for several years assisting the festival in a number of ways … It was great to hear from Dennis McKenna (who grew up in Paonia) about the history in this country of the use of psychedelic mushrooms, in which he and his brother Terence were intimately involved. These days he’s a respected scientific researcher delving into the medicinal properties of psilocybin and psilocin. Awardwinning journalist Don Lattin chronicled the on-going transformation of magic mushrooms from hippie panacea to useful medicine … The list of senior presenters was impressive: emeritus biology professor Bob Cummings of Santa Barbara City College on fungal decay, past president of the New York Mycological Society Elinoar Shavit on dessert truffles, University of Alabama professor Peter Hendricks on psilocybin-facilitated psychotherapy for cocaine dependence, inspirational wild man Larry Evans of Montana, our own San Miguel County Commissioner Kris Holstom, Mark Jones of the Sharondale Mushroom Farm in Virginia, internist and pediatrician Jonathan Reisman on the role of fungi in human health and disease, Miami University Nicholas Money from Ohio, John Michelotti of Catskill Fungi of New York, Steve Shapson on slow food and gourmet cooking with mushrooms, the exuberant Daniel Winkler of mushroaming.com, business whiz Penelope Zeller, and – of course – the amazing mycologist, philosopher and myco-guru Gary Lincoff … But the most impressive aspect of the festival for me this year was the amazing young people who are stepping into the mycological limelight. Chile’s Giuliana Furci wasn’t content with mycological breakthroughs cataloguing her native fungi, she founded the Fungi Foundation and has been making incredible political changes in her country and around the world. A number of us are planning a mycological tour with her in Chile next spring, and discussions are in the works to extend her Fungi Foundation to the States to begin lobbying for political changes to extend the work of mushrooms in our health, forest remedication, agricultural pesticides, oil spill cleanup, and other areas … Tradd Cotter is my new myco-hero in this country. He and his wife Olga have created a mushroom research center, Mushroom Mountain LLC, in the mountains of South Carolina. His vision of what mushrooms can do for our society is expansive and visionary … Katrina Blair of Durango hikes up to Telluride every year, eating wild foods and mushrooms along the way. One of our regional goddesses … William Padilla is an evangelist of mushrooms, teaching all over the country … Peter McCoy, Daniel Reyes, Oliver Quintanilla – these young mycologists are changing the world with mushrooms. If anything gives me hope in these dark times, it’s these dedicated young fungophiles.

SARCODON IMBRICATUS … That’s the latest name for what mycologists used to call Hydnum imbricatum, and which Wikipedia calls “shingled hedgehog” or “scaley hedgehog,” but which most of us local shroomers know as “hawkswing” or “hawkwing” … It’s one of the complications of mushrooming — the nomenclature is in a constant state of scientific flux, along with regional nicknames that differ widely … This mushroom has always been one of my favorites, and I collect a lot when they are in abundance. Their tooth-like undersides (instead of pores or gills) make identification relatively fool-proof, quite handy if you’re a myco-newbie … For years some folks have complained about their bitterness. David Arora’s book calls that out. But I’ve never experienced it until this year. My son and I picked a small one and fried it up at home. Inexplicably, several bites were delicious. And several bites were too bitter to swallow … Some folks say the young ones aren’t as bitter, but instead we found it was bitter and choice in the same mushrooms. Definitely a myco-mystery … I get around any bitterness in the mix by sauteing the mushrooms and adding sour cream. Buffered that way, I’ve never noticed any bitterness.

GLOBAL DRUG SURVEY … Governments around the world consider shrooms and LSD as the most dangerous of illicit substances. In the U.S. they are Schedule I drugs, judged extremely dangerous with no medicinal value. But in this year’s Global Drug Survey involving almost 20,000 respondents who had ingested either magic mushrooms or LSD, just over 100 reported seeking emergency medical treatment, according to Nick Wing in Huffington Post (May 25th) – with lysergic acid diethylamide racking up most of those emergency cases … To turn that into percentages – 1 percent of LSD users and 0.2 of shroomheads sought professional help after tripping. By that metric, the survey concludes that mushrooms are “the safest recreational drug.” Cannabis users registered 0.6 percent. So shrooms would seem to be safer than pot when it comes to bad trips … As could be expected, alcohol was the most widely used intoxicant and had 1.3 percent rate of people reporting trouble. And as also might be expected, methamphetamines seemed to be the most harmful substance in the survey, with a rate of 4.8 percent.

SUMMER OF LOVE … It was 50 years ago this past summer that I returned from my stint as a VISTA volunteer on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana and came back to San Francisco with flowers in my hair. I’d been born in the Mission, moved to the suburbs and now was returning to college in the fabled metropolis my mother had told me endless stories of. “The City,” as we called it — from down in the Peninsula’s suburbs. Devotees of Larraburu french bread, Gary Snyder’s poetry and Herb Caen’s threedot journalism in the pre-Hearst Chronicle … My poet buddy Rafael Jesús González has written a wonderful essay about the Summer of Love, how its counter-cultural power continues to influence America 50 years after the fact. Read it in English and in Spanish here: rjgonzalez.blogspot.com/2017/07/ summer-of-love-2017-2017.html

BODY MASS INDEX … If you’re overweight, as I am, this is a measure beyond mere weight to give you an idea how overweight you might be. The World Health Organization’s BMI was disappointing to me, as I appeared to be “obese,” which seemed a stretch, though my potbelly has been expansive in the past … Luckily, I found the Smart Body Mass Index from Europe which measures more variables, including age. On that scale, I was only slightly overweight. Lose another 15 pounds and I’m right in the sweet spot … Having lost 25 pounds last year, that goal seems achievable. And best, the site suggests not to diet. Just eat less of the foods you love, and exercise regularly, being sure to do a lot of fruit, vegetable and nuts … If weight is an issue for you, visit: www.smartbmicalculator.com/

Art Goodtimes writes from San Miguel County, Colo.


THE TALKING GOURD

After

Sometimes
the raw
data of doing
just • doesn’t • jell
until • way late • in the canning
or • cleaning • or • whatever •
comes
after • cling peaches • blushing
apricots • & • whipped cream

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From art-goodtimes.