Our Mushroom Foraging Hunt with Wild Food Mary
Our Mushroom Forage took place on 31st October in Offaly – a beautiful county that is central to so many parts of Ireland – meaning we had guests from Cork, Clare, Galway, Waterford, Wexford, Kildare and Dublin to name a few.
Linda and I headed up the night before so that we could help out with the days’ preparations. Our first stop was at Pikeman Brewing in Kinnitty for a beer. We met Kieran and Seany (one of his 4 legged pals) and had a good aul chat.. We immediately felt welcome and at home. Absolutely love this type of Irish bar. Locals just stroll in and out, easy going, banter & craic.
Then we headed to meet Wild Food Mary who welcomed us into her cosy home. Over the evening we got to know a little more about Mary (& Ashy ) while helping to prepare some of the greatness. A lot of the ingredients came from Mary’s land.. We were so spoilt between homemade cakes, veg casserole dish, fruits from the garden, breads, cheese and finishing off with pear crumble and a taste of Marys fine Liqueur! Beautiful
We were SO LUCKY that the rain held off – the rest of the country was getting drenched – but we had sunshine! Happy days 🙂
We welcomed our guests with freshly brewed coffee / tea and a hot homemade elderberry syrup drink before Mary gave an introductory talk. Then we car pooled to the local woods where we foraged amongst the trees and undergrowth for fungi.
Mary introduced us to an array of wild mushrooms including the enigmatic Fly Agaric (contains chemicals that result in psychoactive and hallucinogenic effects) and the frightening Death Cap which accounts for more than 90% of fungus-related poisoning deaths in Europe! Mary explained how to identify these and best procedures with both.
We collected a range of edible wild mushrooms – using the sustainable rule of three of course – take no more than a third, leave a third for nature and a third for regrowth and regeneration – and later compared them over our lunch.