This weekend I made it over to the Mount Pisgah Arboretum‘s annual Mushroom Festival. The main attraction was the large variety of edible, unknown and posionous mushrooms they had on display in the main covered area. I went fairly early and snaked around the lines with a crowd of people to look at the natural wonders and read the little signs.

I met up with some friends and enjoyed a long walk through the Mount Pisgah area, which was gorgeous on this brisk fall morning. Typically you need to pay for a $2 day parking permit once at the park, but it can be worth it for a nature hike close to Eugene. There is a beautiful oak savanna that invites you into the woods beyond and I highly recommend spending some time out there if you live in the area.

The rest of the mushroom festival was somewhat entertaining. There was a booth selling mushroom kits already inoculated with various mushrooms. For prices I have seen online, this looked like a good deal and an easy way of easing into mushroom growing. It didn’t look like they had a website, but their name is Rain Forest Mushroom Co. from Eddyville, Oregon. Their phone number is 541-875-2026 and perhaps they can do mail order? I’m not sure.

There was also a wild mushroom CSA which I thought was a brilliant idea. I would prefer to actually learn how to hunt for mushrooms on my own, but for those foodies who want to cook with them without tromping through the woods on rainy mornings… I could see this being a cool CSA to buy into. They also do not seem to have a website (who are these people that don’t use the internets?) but you can click on this picture of their flier for a bigger image that has their contact info.

The rest of the festival included a scarecrow contest, horse-drawn wagon rides, a number of local plant nursery stands and crafts. The food options were so-so, but I did enjoy a very mushroom-filled pizza from the Pizza Research Institute.

As much as this all sounds fun in writing, actually being there wasn’t that much fun for me. I was in a somewhat grumpy mood and milling around with a mob of Eugene uber-hippies wasn’t exactly what I needed to turn my mood around. I would equate the experience to visiting the Sauvie Island farms on a weekend at this time of year. It was interesting to see the mushrooms, but I might skip the event next year.

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