Every spring and fall, The Culinary Adventure Company hosts a Mushroom Forage in the Don Valley. The location is ‘secret’ and shared only with guests who have signed up for the adventure. Our great friend Grant Bouchard is a nature and food enthusiast and member of the Toronto Mycological Society and serves as our guide. Grant knows the area well, and usually scouts the location for bounty a day or two in advance, and he has the knowledge and resources to identify the various fungi to ensure our guests are safe with their foraged goodies. When in doubt, don’t eat it!
This one of the events where we actually hope for rain! The best results happen after we have had lots of rain….makes the mushrooms grow. We are careful to practice sustainable foraging, which means that we don’t pick everything we find and are sure to leave a few spores so they can continue to multiply for others to enjoy. The season dictates the type of mushrooms that we might find. In the spring, morel mushrooms (last year these were $60/lb at the market), wild leeks (ramps) and fiddleheads grow. In the fall, more abundant are hen of the woods, saddlebacks, and chantrelles. Below is a picture of a morel from the spring forage. Look at the side of that fungi!
For this adventure, we meet at a designated location and guests receive an orientation, including safety instructions for the hike. We hand out small knives and paper bags for anyone who may need them, and then our guide leads the group out into the woods. Most guests can’t believe they are experiencing such beautiful natural surroundings in the heart of Toronto! After the group does their search, everyone comes back to base where we have prepared an amazing hot lunch for all to enjoy. This fall, Jason Rees, pitmaster with the award winning Pork Ninjas bbq team provided a fantastic southern spread for lunch – pulled pork (I’ve had this many times and it’s always the best!), the cheesiest mac’n’cheese, home made baked beans, southern slaw and apple crisp for dessert. Chef Scott cooked up some mushrooms to have on the side, after all this is a mushroom forage!
This is a wonderful adventure and a great way to spend a Sunday morning – out in the fresh air, exploring the bountiful nature and beautiful surroundings in the heart of the city, making new friends, and enjoying a fabulous lunch! What more could you ask for?!?!
We have had such success and increasing demand for our forages, that we plan to run four in 2013 – two in the spring and two in the fall. Dates usually get announced in March or April, so be sure to bookmark the website, or sign up for the newsletter to stay in the loop! We hope to see you this spring to share in a morning you won’t soon forget.
Categories: Culinary Adventure Company Event