The fifth annual Sunshine Coast Mushroom Festival starts off on Friday, Oct. 18, with a special guest.
Robert Rogers, a renowned Canadian herbalist and author, will speak at the Roberts Creek Hall as a guest of SHROOM, a local organization dedicated to the hunting, recognition and observation of mushrooms.
Rogers has been a student of native plants and fungi from the Canadian prairies for more than 40 years. He is a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild and amateur mycologist, fellow of the International College of Nutrition and serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Medicinal Mushroom.
He is the author of 14 books; his latest is The Fungal Pharmacy: The Complete Guide to Medicinal Mushrooms and Lichens of North America.
His presentation starts at 7 p.m. Admission is $10 at the door.
On Saturday, Oct. 19, in Pender Harbour SHROOM will be set up in the Pender Community Hall where there will be mushrooms on display, cooking demonstrations and experts present to help you identify local fungi — those that are edible and those not. There will be demonstrations on the use of mushrooms to dye fibres, as well as merchant displays and a raffle for a wonderful prize.
Admission is $3 at the door, and members of SHROOM are free.
Memberships may also be purchased at the festival, which are $20 for individuals and $25 for families. If a membership is purchased at the festival, you get into the festival free.
On Saturday evening there will be a special dinner prepared by the chefs of the Painted Boat with many of the dishes made with locally foraged mushrooms and special wine pairings. Also, Rogers will be speaking at the dinner with a presentation titled From Mycophagy to Immune Modulation — a gastronomic journey to health and wellness, how mushroom meals prevent and treat illness.
If you are interested in taking in the dinner, contact the Painted Boat directly as the seating for Saturday is limited. Tickets for the dinner are $125.
And on Sunday, Oct. 20, Rogers, accompanied by members of the local mycological group, will lead a foray into the local mountains to pick and identify local fungi.
This foray is open to all members of the public. If you are interested, see scshroom.org and register there, or come by the registration table at the festival on Saturday. There is a fee of $40 for the foray; numbers are limited.
After the foray, all will return to the Painted Boat where the chefs have agreed to cook up the mushroom finds for all to savour.