SOMA mushroom forays are field trips to collect wild mushrooms with knowledgeable fungi folk. Forays provide a great opportunity to get out in the woods in a friendly atmosphere to learn the ins and outs of identifying and collecting mushrooms. Our forays are always open to the public, and we welcome all ages, experience levels, and interests. Check out the events calendar for the next foray.
Foraging, identifying, and eating
Mark Todd prepares chanterelles after a foray. Photo © Petra Esterle.
At a typical foray, we sort ourselves into several groups, each led by a foray leader who knows the area and the fungi to be found. After about an hour of foraging, we reconvene with our fungal treasures to have them identified, photographed, and sometimes—if deemed edible and choice by our experts—to be cooked up for the post-foray potluck by members of the SOMA Culinary Group.
The potluck is the convivial time of the forays, with everyone gathering, sharing, and exchanging stories. SOMA Culinary Group members bring portable stoves, cookware, and condiments, and take charge of cooking up mushrooms gathered on the foray to complement the potluck dishes.
When and where
During the mushroom season (from September to May), SOMA leads monthly forays on the Saturday morning following the Thursday night meeting. Forays are usually at Salt Point State Park. Meet at 10am at Woodside Campground public area which is central in Salt Point, almost directly across from Gerstle Cove Campground—we highly encourage car pooling.
As a consequence of State Park permit requirements:
- There is a day use fee of $8/vehicle (Yet another reason to carpool!)
- Forays are limited to first 40 people who sign in at the Woodside campground parking lot
- Alcohol is not allowed during SOMA pot-luck
- Dogs are not allowed on State Park trails.
To find out when the next foray will be, check out the events calendar.
Ten things to bring on a Foray
- Collecting basket or paper bag with handles
- Wax bags or small paper bags to separate species (no plastic!)
- A 10x hand lens or small magnifying glass is always helpful for identification
- Water bottle and a snack
- A notebook, pen, and a small Mushroom field guide is always useful
- Small digging tool or knife to get at the mushrooms
- A whistle is handy to locate your fellow foragers if you get off trail or turned around!
- Hat and/or rain gear as weather demands
- Some brown soap or similar disinfectant for the inevitable tangling with poison oak
- A potluck dish, utensils*, and a good appetite
*Please bring your own plates, flatware, and glassware. By not leaving behind bags of trash for a Park employee to deal with may allow us to maintain the nice arrangement we have a while longer. And—you knew this was coming—it's better for the environment.
For more specific info about the forays, feel free to contact the foray leader: Patrick Hamilton