Foraging for Wild Mushrooms

November 14, 2022

By Olivia Waterhouse


On a brisk October morning, wild edible enthusiasts from across the East End joined artist Scott Bluedorn for a guided hike and mushroom hunt in the North Amagansett woodlands. After meeting at Quail Hill Farm, our convoy of foragers headed down Stony Hill Road to explore the trails of Silver Beech and Red Dirt Preserves.

A week of rain had made for perfect conditions, and we found our first mushroom just a few feet from the trailhead – a lovely, but likely inedible, Brittlegills (Russula genus), pictured above.

Scott provided helpful identification tips and advice from his years of foraging throughout the walk. Without a spore print, you can’t be 100% sure of any identification, but you can learn to rely on your experience, knowledge, and common sense.


Scott Bluedorn showing an Amanita genus mushroom on the left and honey mushrooms on the right.

When we finally encountered a Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus), Scott talked us through all the visual and environmental cues that made him feel confident enough in its identification to harvest and eat the mushroom we had found.


Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus)

Most of us took a small piece of the Chicken of the Woods to cook up at home. The texture is meaty and the flavor rich and savory. I took mine camping and fried it up in a cast iron with a little butter. It was delicious!

Throughout the walk, we talked about stewardship and what it means to forage responsibly – don’t take the first one you see, don’t take all of what you find, and only take what you need! We’re so lucky to share this local, wild bounty with each other and with all the creatures that call these woods home. It’s our responsibility to leave enough for the next guy (or deer, or turkey)!

Have suggestions for future Connections programs? Contact Kathy Kennedy, Senior Manager of Outreach.

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