There are plenty of ways to enjoy the great outdoors, from hiking, to rock climbing, to camping. Many people are also passionate about foraging for mushrooms. Mushroom hunting has the benefits of fresh air, fitness, and finding a delicious addition to your favorite dish. Though there are plenty of spots to enjoy this pastime throughout the country, a new ranking lays out some of the most prime counties to snag those fungi.
Technology company moveBuddha, which advises people on relocating, compiled a list of the top 25 counties in the United States for mushroom foraging. If it’s something you’re interested in, you may want to pack your rain jacket and head to the Pacific Northwest. Nine of the counties featured can be found between Northern California and Washington. If you’re located elsewhere, though, there are also plenty of options further south in California, as well as in the Midwest, Alaska, and Colorado.
The top 10 counties in the ranking are Alpine, California; Lane, Oregon; Lake, Minnesota; Lincoln, Oregon; San Miguel, Colorado; Curry, Oregon; Sitka, Alaska; Charlevoix, Michigan; King, Washington; and Grant, Wisconsin.
What makes these counties so perfect for the forager? It’s a combination of the number of per capita fungi sightings, as recorded by the 1.8 million users of the iNaturalist app, as well as the prevalence of mycophile groups and community events like foraging festivals.
In the Northwest, the cool and rainy climate provides a great environment for mushrooms. The study says this is also a great spot for beginners because of the number of events, activities, and groups that can help you learn more. King County, Washington, for example, is highlighted due to the Puget Sound Mycological Society. Its regular workshops on microscopic identification, guided hikes, and lectures from mushroom experts provide great resources and community for foragers.
There are also fun festivals highlighted in other portions of the Northwest, including Lane County, Oregon’s annual Mount Pisgah Mushroom Festival. The event is put on by the Cascade Mycological Society and Lane Community College and features hundreds of local species of fungi. Attendees can also enjoy anything from tasting booths to guided nature walks.
If you’re in a drier climate, don’t fret, though. There are still options for you.
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MoveBuddha says, “Though desert regions like Los Angeles County, CA, and Bernalillo County, NM may not be famous for their biodiversity of fungi, they are home to vibrant communities of fungi enthusiasts. In addition to relatively high rates of observations made by dedicated iNaturalist users, beginning mycophiles will find plenty of experts and hobbyists alike to help teach them how to find mushrooms in the desert.”
The study also notes that there are plenty of counties in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic that have a high volume of mushroom sightings.
Before you start your fungi foraging, be sure to know what you’re looking for and be aware that there are toxic mushrooms you’ll want to avoid. It’s also advised to cook edible mushrooms before eating them. Head out with somebody who can accurately identify the right species until you’re able to do so yourself. A good rule of thumb followed by foragers is “If in doubt, throw the mushroom out.”
For more information on foraging and other tips for great mushroom locales, read more at moveBuddha.Whizzco