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Hen of the Woods, Chicken of the Woods: what’s the difference? With more than 5,000 species of mushrooms found in the region, identifying species can be challenging. The most commonly asked questions: "What is this?" and "Can I eat it?" Led by mycology enthusiast Kathy Yerich, this course allows you to first learn about, then forage for, and finally savor the mushrooms of Minnesota.
We’ll begin in the classroom with a lecture that defines what mushrooms are, surveys the species found in the region, and details the characteristics essential to species’ identification.
Because spending time in the field is the best way to advance your knowledge, the next session will have you foraging at William O’Brien State Park. Mushroom identification is a tactile and sensory experience, so we’ll spend time observing, touching, and smelling specimens, all of which can help to distinguish species.
And finally, the taste test! We’ll meet at the Campus Club where chef Beth Jones will prepare small plates that feature locally sourced wild and cultivated mushrooms. In addition to offering tips on how to use mushrooms in your own kitchen, the soirée will include a visit from a gourmet mushroom cultivator who will discuss the ins and outs of the ever-expanding local mushroom industry and other fun(gi) surprises.
Throughout the evening, there will be a cash bar featuring a variety of wines, beers, and cocktails with suggested pairings for the courses. Tuition includes food.
Required: Kathy Yerich and Teresa Marrone, Mushrooms of the Upper Midwest: A Simple Guide to Common Mushrooms (Adventure Publications, 2014).
Kathy Yerich, BFA, University of Minnesota, is vice president of the Minnesota Mycological Society and a member of the North American Mycological Association. She has been foraging for 15 years and is coauthor of Mushrooms of the Upper Midwest: A Simple Guide to Common Mushrooms (Adventure Publications, 2014).
Beth Jones, executive chef, Campus Club, University of Minnesota, honed her cooking skills and became a proponent of the local foods movement while at Lucia’s in Minneapolis. She has been with the Campus Club for 12 years.
Ian Silver-Ramp, BS, University of Minnesota, is founder and co-owner of Minneapolis-based Mississippi Mushrooms.
Courtney Tchida is the Student Programs Coordinator for the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and Cornercopia Student Organic Farm.
Offered in cooperation with the Campus Club of the University of Minnesota, Cornercopia Student Farm, Minnesota Mycological Society, and Mississippi Mushrooms.
Photo: Kathy Yerich