The Slow Food Mushroom Walk finally has been scheduled for September 19th, 3 p.m. to about 6 p.m. It was initially to have been held during August or very early September, but responses to the earlier possible dates were weak due to vacation schedules and Labor Day.
Coleman McCleneghan, a leading mushroom expert (mycologist) in the southeast, will lead the walk and then a discussion about distinguishing edible from poisonous mushrooms.
The event will be held at Apple Hill Alpaca Farm (www.applehillfarmnc.com), located near NC 194 about 3 miles southwest of Valle Crucis (in the direction of Banner Elk; see directions below).
Lee Rankin, owner of the Alpaca farm, has invited any who want to tour the farm to arrive around 1 o’clock in the afternoon.
The Mushroom Walk itself will consist of three parts: a brief introduction to wild mushrooms, the walk itself over trails through mixed environments, followed by gathering in the Alpaca farm “classroom” where the mushrooms can be spread out on tables for critical information about identification.
According to Coleman, participants may want to take some time to collect any fungi they may have in their yard or some such place. She also suggests that when collecting fungi it is important
n to use a knife or such to get the complete base of the specimen (some very important characteristics can be below the ground or wood),
n to know what the fungus was growing on (wood, leaf litter, soil, in mixed hardwood forest, under conifers like pines, and on), and also that
n fungi are best wrapped in wax paper. Plastic bags are okay for short term but plastic tends to “melt” the specimen if it heats up.
Directions to Apple Hill Alpaca Farm, beginning in Valle Crucis at the T intersection in the center of town:
At the T intersection near the Elementary School, take NC 194 south (toward Banner Elk) and proceed 3.9 miles to the intersection with Oliver Hill Road. Turn right onto Oliver Hill Road.
Proceed 0.8 mi on Oliver Hill Road to the intersection with Bladen Road. Turn right onto Bladen Road.
Stay on Bladen Hill Road only 0.2 mi, to where it intersects with Apple Hill Road. Turn left onto Apple Hill Road.
Proceed on Apple Hill Road 0.3 mi to the farm. Follow traffic signs at the farm.