I said we'd go to the mushroom fair back in April of last year, and we did! The 2012 Los Angeles Mushroom Fair was held on February 12th of this year and we headed to the Arboretum to check it out. It was a fun and strange experience. The crowd was really diverse: kids, seniors, hippies, park rangers, foreigners, school kids banking volunteer hours--it was all over the place!
First, we participated in a "mushroom walk" led by a mycologist who was a research fellow at a university. She explained how to find mushrooms and do some basic identification and harvesting--it brought me back to my college days. Not that any of the courses I took had to do with mushrooms. The way she talked was just so...professor-y! She's in the middle below (I can't remember her name, sadly):
There were a ton of mushrooms on display with very helpful docents to answer our questions. We learned that very few mushrooms are actually deadly, although many upset your stomach. We also found out that the one common lethal mushroom local to Los Angeles is the most benign looking of all:
Don't let their boring appearance fool you--they're called "Death Angel"! Don't they seriously look really boring and typical, though? Like you might want to pop one in your mouth just out of curiosity?...
There were a lot of weird mushrooms on display:
There was also an identification table where visitors could bring in their own finds and have an expert help them figure out what kind of mushroom it was.
And perhaps most exciting of all, N and I went home with this:
Can you guess what it is? Heres a hint: there's a million babies inside. More to come in another post...