I went mushroom foraging last year and can’t wait to get out and do it again. When I saw this press release from Mendocino, I had to share:
County so does the annual crop of coveted candy cap, chanterelle and porcini mushrooms. Straddling historic Highways 1 and 101 with nearly 2,500 sq. miles of live oak, pygmy forests and stately redwood groves, the region is a natural hotspot for some 3,000 mushroom varieties. The annual haul is nothing short of historic, nurturing nirvana for local mycologists, chefs and fungi foragers. Add to the mix a cache of artisanal chefs, 95+ wineries, a formidable craft beer and hard cider scene, and the annual salute to Mr. Fungi sprouts into action November 6-15, 2015; visitmendocino.com; 866.466.3636.
FUNGI FORAGING – Rides, Hikes & Workshops (November 6-15, 2015)
During the week, visitors can tap into a variety of adventures from mushroom hunts by horseback, foraging excursions, Pinot and porcini menus, educational seminars and art exhibits. Regionally, Mendocino County hotel properties and restaurants are offering special menus and packages throughout the month of November. From boots to backwoods, the annual hunt for Mr. Fungi hits a high note this season. Top excursions include: Ride with the Hunt – Mushroom Sightings at Ricochet Ridge Ranch – "Mushroom Hunt" horseback rides every day during the festival. Equine, wine & hotel packages also available. $55 and up. Ricochet Ridge Ranch, Fort Bragg; 707.964.7669; horse-vacation.com
Mushrooms at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
Join staff mycologist Mario Abreu for a series of mushroom workshops and walks at the Botanical Gardens. Daily. Guided mushroom walks Mondays at 1:30 p.m., (Nov. 16-Dec. 21); $20. Fort Bragg; 707.964.4352×16; gardenbythesea.org
Pygmy Forest Ecological Staircase Hike & Educational Hunt
Daily self-guided tours from beach to bluffs traversing 100,000 years in geology on each of the five terraces. Forage for fungi enroute. Free. Jug Handle State Reserve, Caspar; 707.937.5804; jughandlecreekfarm.com
Mushroom Exploration Tours
Join local mycologist Adrienne Long for all things mushroom at the Stanford Inn before heading out to the forests and meadows for a full immersion. Daily, $35. Stanford Inn by the Sea, Mendocino; 707.937.5615; stanfordinn.com
Mushroom Foraging Workshop
Learn basic mushroom identification, tips and tricks on foraging, cooking and drying mushrooms at the Emerald Earth Sanctuary; $50-$75. December 6, Boonville; 707.972.3096; emeraldearth.org
Walk on the Wild Side
The ultimate walk on the wild side begins with a mushroom hunt on 39 acres of native gardens, forest and meadows with a mushroom expert, culminating with wine and canapés from the Mushroom Cookbook authors Alison Gardner and Merry Winslow. November 15, $22; Jug Handle Creek Farm, Caspar; 707.937.3498; jughandlecreekfarm.com
In addition, special tours are available during the week at Catch-a-Canoe and Bicycles Too, Liquid Fusion Kayak Tours, Unbeaten Path Tours and B. Bryan Preserve, a unique outpost featuring some of the world's most endangered hoof stock.
FORAGE TO TABLE
It's a celebration of cepes throughout Mendocino County as foragers deliver and chefs devise. Nearly 40 restaurants are on tap with mushroom-infused menus and special repasts. Key events include the new Bewildered Pig Restaurant's Winemaker Dinner with Maple Creek Winery (Nov. 5), 15th Annual Wild Mushroom and Winemaker Dinner at Mendocino's MacCallum House Inn & Restaurant (Nov. 6), Harvest Dinner at Jaxon Keys Winery & Distillery (Nov. 7), BARRA of Mendocino Winemaker Dinner at Crush Restaurant (Nov. 7) and Stanford Inn's Ravens Restaurant Medicinal Mushroom Breakfast (Nov. 8). For all things sea and land, Wild Fish steps up with a multiple-course tasting menu and Winemaker Dinner with Yorkville Cellars (Nov. 12) and Mendocino's new outpost – Trillium – steps up with a winemaker dinner partnering with Signal Ridge and Drew Winery (Nov. 12). For a more serene setting, Afternoon Tea at Glendeven Inn is the call paired with mushroom-focused tea sandwiches (Nov. 12). The Symbiosis Social at Lichen Estate kicks things up with live music and mushroom fare paired with wine (Nov. 13). The week wraps with the annual Food & Wine tasting at McNab Ridge (Nov. 14), Mushroom Forage and Organic Lunch at Frey Winery (Nov. 14) and From Vineyard and Forest to Table pairing Panthea Winery and Stanford Inn's Ravens Restaurant (Nov. 14).
Visitors looking to catch some fungi action on the fly can tap into seasonal specials throughout the county during November. Key stops include Ukiah's new Chop Chop, Hopland Tap House, Ledford House, Patrona Restaurant, Saucy, The Peg House and The Q in Fort Bragg. Mendo Burgers offers a lineup of crimini, portobello and wild golden chanterelles on any burger of choice and Cowlick's tops things off with a sinfully sweet Candy-Cap Mushroom Ice Cream.
MUSH"ROOM" AT THE INN
A bounty of local hotel deals round out the seasonal celebration including Glendeven Inn's "Mushroom Special" with a third night free; Little River Inn's "Mushroom Mania" ocean-view guestroom package ($159.00/dbl.) and Elk Cove Inn and Spa's"Lodging & Wine Dinner Package" including a three-course French repast and daily sparkling wine breakfast. Nearby, the Surf & Sand Lodge steps up with prime Pacific views and 50 percent off the third night's stay while the Inn at Cobbler's Walk in Little River kicks off the season with its "Mushroom Special" featuring a third night free.
Mendocino's AAA-Four Diamond Brewery Gulch Inn celebrates the season with a 15 percent savings (two-night minimum) and infusion of locally-sourced mushrooms showcased in the daily made-to-order gourmet breakfast. Other deals include a 15 percent savings at the MacCallum House, "Mushroom Madness Special" with a two night for the price of one at the seaside Beachcomber Motel & Spa, or Albion River Inn's generous 30 percent savings on any ocean view guestrooms. Blackout periods and restrictions apply. For a complete listing of local deals, visit visitmendocino.com.