Picking season sees first ever Sandspit Mushroom Festival

  • Aug. 5, 2015 1:00 p.m.

By Stacey MarpleHaida Gwaii ObserverWith Chanterelle mushroom season only a month away, islanders are already planning their yearly picks. This year will also see the very first Sandspit Mushroom Festival. Festival organizer Flavien Mabit has been working hard to gather interested people to put on the festival. “We are looking for locals with mushroom picking knowledge to assist with the activities throughout the festival,” Mr. Mabit said. Anyone interested in participating in the festival is welcome to call Mr. Mabit at the Sandspit Visitor Centre. The fungal fun is scheduled for September 19 and 20 and will host mushroom walks through the rainforest looking for edible specimens. There will also be mushroom experts on hand to show the public how to identify the variety of mushrooms on Haida Gwaii. Booths and tables with information on harvesting, identifying and preparing mushrooms will be displayed at the Sandspit Visitor Centre. Skidegate lake on Moresby Island is the regular hot spot for seasoned mushroom pickers. However, in the past few years pickers and buyers have witnessed many cut blocks destroy their favourite mushroom patches. Chanterelle mushrooms tend to grow from the roots of trees like hemlock and douglas firs, but when a area is logged the mushrooms will not return as they thrive in the coolness of the rainforest. The dry summer that Haida Gwaii has seen so far this summer, may be bad news for the mushrooms as they need a good amount of rain to grow.The best time of the year to hunt for chanterelles is late summer and early fall, depending on the amount of rainfall the area has received.

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