'TIS THE SEASON... for damp tromping through loamy woods and moist undergrowth with a single, savory goal in mind: Finding edible fungi. It's an age-old art form that's inspired books, movies, cable series, and the occasional on-the-ground seminar, but most mushroom mavens are content to sit back and have our favorite caps and stems delivered to us, packed and ready, via our local market.
BUT WHAT IF... you did want to do some of that damp tromping yourself, just to see how the whole discovering-of-delicious-mushroomery goes down? It can happen, with an expert guide explaining what to look for, what to avoid, and the finer intricacies of the fungi-based arts. Saracina Vineyards in Hopland leads a yearly tour into the nearby environs, a tour that is both educational and hearty-of-exercise. You'll learn about mushroom-seeking with John Fetzer and his bro Joe, and you'll have an invigorating day out. And how should an invigorating day out end? With a mushroom feast, of course, in winery's Party Barn. (Aside: How does one get a "Party Barn"? Like can just a person have one? Because we might want.) Wine shall be a part of the mushroom-feasting, of course, and all the convivialities of a vigorous day spent tracking the fabled fungi (toasts, healthy glows, some sunshine taken). Cost? It's a hundred bucks. Date? Saturday, Dec. 7. Also? This one fills up, so tally ho.
IF YOU CAN'T WAIT... to get your mushroom on, then please do note that Mendocino County's mondo mushroom-focused festival is on through Nov. 10. Train rides, tastings, wine- and beer-enjoyment, and other meaty-but-not-meat to-dos crowd the Mendo calendar.