Andrea on the Road - Mendocino Mushroom Picking

After the holiday season, we received a break from cold and rain and welcome the most refreshing time of the year: vivid colors on the hills decorated with wild flowers. Early spring is a great time for snapping photos, and a short family trip. 

So, Andrea is back on the road! 

We are going to mushroom picking near Mendocino, Northern California coast. 

Mendocino is small coastal town loved by many San Francisco Bay Areans. It is ideal for weekend family trips - quiet, layback, and away from the crowds.

We are mushroom lovers, but with wild mushrooms you gonna be careful. We obviously don't want mistakes. Therefore Lynn (wife) joined the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz ( and this is their February foray at Mendocino. The experienced members will help the new members, like us, identify mushrooms during the event. The best part, a big potluck at night when all the members cook what they pick in the woods.  

In order to join the foray and potluck, most of the club members are staying in Albion Retreat and Learning Center ( Albion is about 15 min away from Mendocino. The learning center provides clean and cozy rooms with affordable price. We absolutely love the privacy and the surrounding moist refreshing air.  

Guess who was the most exciting member of the day?? After a night of good sleep, Andrea declares: I AM READY!

The mushroom picking location is in the Jackson State Forest. We followed experienced members scouting good spots along the highway 20. We finally settled down on a spot where the ground was wet and lots of trees blocking the sun. After 15-20 minutes of walking into the woods, we had our first harvest!

After a day of hard work, we are rewarded with fresh and delicious wild mushrooms. We found four kinds of edible wild mushrooms in the forest. They are very common in Northern California. According to the experienced club members, there are hundreds and thousands of mushrooms in the wilderness. It is impossible to identify all of them. Same fungus may look different during different time. If edibility is the main interest (for most people, it is), the right approach is to get familiar and pick only those edible wild mushrooms in your area.  Normally there are only a handful of them in a given area. For example, the four types below are very common and easy to recognize in Northern California. And you would leave all the other fungus alone - When in Doubt, Throw it Out!

Mushroom pictures from internet

No need to mention, the potluck was full of fun. Among all the different kinds of mushrooms, the black trumpet is our favorite. The unique taste goes the best with pastas... YUMMY!

The second day, we hung out at Mendocino downtown. Goodlife Cafe & Bakery is a nice place to sit down and rest. 

It is time to head home, fully recharged, ready for new challenges!