Mushrooming possibilities |

Mushrooming possibilities

A spread of mushrooms, some edible, some not, are displayed after a foraging expedition
Weekly file photo |

A bevy of locals and visitors will venture out on a treasure hunt that culminates in their kitchens when the seventh annual Eagle Wild Mushroom and Wine Weekend comes to town Aug. 22-24.

“Conditions should be phenomenal,” said Holli Snyder of Always Mountain Time, organizing sponsor for the event. “With all the rain we have gotten this August, our experts are expecting the best yield ever. For anyone who has even considered attending the Eagle Wild Mushroom and Wine Weekend, this may be an amazing year to give it a try.”

The weekend will feature delicious foods created by local chefs utilizing local mushrooms and wild edibles and local and regional fare, mushroom and wild edible education, and foraging and wine and beer tasting.

“From year to year, people tell us how much they enjoy this event,” said Snyder. “It’s a great combination of finding edible treasure right here in our back yards and having the expert guidance needed to make sure that what people pick is delicious and safe.”

Meet the


A big part of the attraction for the Eagle Wild Mushroom and Wine Weekend is the presence of knowledgeable leaders who guide participants as they locate, identify and ultimately consume their wild booty. Here’s who will be in Eagle this weekend:


Larry Evans has been hunting, cooking, eating, and teaching about wild mushrooms and edible plants for 30 years. Evans founded the Western Montana Mycological Association in 1991, and it became a 501(c)3 nonprofit in 1995. He taught a mushroom class at the Glacier Institute near Glacier National Park for 29 years.

He is featured in the Ron Mann film “Know Your Mushrooms” and has produced and recorded two CDs of mushroom music, “Fungal Boogie” and “Fungal BoogieMan.”

Find out more about Evans and the WMMA at


Katrina Blair began studying wild plants in her teens when she camped out alone for a summer with the intention of eating primarily wild foods. She later wrote “The Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants of the San Juan Mountains” for her senior project at Colorado College where she graduated with a biology degree.

In 1997 Blair completed a master’s degree from John F. Kennedy University in Orinda, CA in Holistic Health Education. She founded Turtle Lake Refuge in 1997, a non-profit organization, whose mission is to celebrate the connection between personal health and wild lands.

Blair has taught sustainable living practices through John F. Kennedy University, San Juan College in Farmington, NM, and Fort Lewis College in Durango. She also teaches internationally at retreats, festivals and educational and healing events. She is the author of her most recent book, published in 2009 “Local Wild Life – Turtle Lake Refuge’s Recipes for Living Deep” as well a, several smaller locally distributed publications including “Commitments for Living the Good Life – The Wisdoms of the Osha Root,” “Snow Cone Recipe Book,” and “Las Plantas de Iztac” along with four wild plant recipe calendars.

Blair lives at the Turtle Lake Community Organic Garden in Durango and is currently working on her new book, “Our Wealth of Wild Weeds.”

❱❱ Ken Kassenbrock

Ken Kassenbrock, MD,PhD has been an avid hunter of wild mushrooms since the late 1970s.

Trained as a physician-scientist, he has worked in cellular and molecular biology, including post-doctoral work with the brewer’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Although his interests in fungi were initially culinary, over the years they mushroomed (what else?) to include other aspects of the biology of the fascinating kingdom including ecology, toxicology, biotechnology and cultivation. Avocation and vocation eventually converged, and Kassenbrock currently teaches mycology (mushrooms, molds, mildews and more) at Colorado State University, where he is on the faculty in the biology department.

What to Bring

Like any outdoors activity, a successful mushroom hunt is reliant upon having the correct equipment including the following:

Proper outdoor clothing for weather conditions including a waterproof jacket

Stout boots

Basket — Keeping mushrooms in plastic bags makes them sweat and degrade very quickly

Knife — For removing mushrooms growing on wood; for checking for maggots and for removing damaged or dirty sections before adding mushrooms to the basket.

Brush — To clean dirt, grass, leaves from mushrooms

Pocket size field guide

Hand lens — May be useful for subtle points of identification

Compass and map — When wandering randomly around a wood looking at the ground, it’s very easy to get lost.

Walking stick — Doubles as a bracken mover and suspicious fungi turner.

Event Schedule

Friday, Aug. 22

5 p.m. — Festival check in Eagle Ranch Golf Course Grill

6 to 8 p.m. — Welcome party at the Eagle Ranch Golf Course Grill

Saturday, Aug. 23

8:30 to 10:30 a.m. — Education seminars from mushroom and wild edibles experts at Eagle Town Hall

10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Foraging and hiking around Eagle

2:30 to 4:30 p.m. — Mushroom identification at Eagle Ranch Golf Course Grill

7 to 10 p.m. — Wine pairing dinner at Eagle Ranch Golf Club

Sunday, Aug. 24

8:30 to 10:30 a.m. — Education seminars from mushroom and wild edibles experts at the Capitol Theater

10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Foraging and hiking around Eagle

2:30 to 4:30 p.m. — Mushroom identification at Eagle Ranch Golf Course Grill

For additional information visit

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