October 2022

October General Meeting Speaker

Mike McCurdy

John Muir Laws will lead a Zoom workshop to help you draw and paint mushrooms in the field or studio.

10/18/2022, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Pacific Time
Zoom Link
Zoom Meeting ID: 891 8438 9640
Passcode: 608192

Learn how to:
  • Abstract the shape of a mushroom to help you visualize it from any angle and translate these to sketches and drawings
  • What views are the most useful for later identification
  • What parts of a mushroom are crucial to notice and record
  • Laws will also demonstrate how to capture mushroom textures and colors with watercolor

John (Jack) Muir Laws is a principal leader and innovator of the worldwide nature journaling movement. Jack is a scientist, educator, and author, who helps people forge a deeper and more personal connection with nature through keeping illustrated nature journals and understanding science. His work intersects science, art, and mindfulness. Trained as a wildlife biologist and an associate of the California Academy of Sciences, he observes the world with rigorous attention. He looks for mysteries, plays with ideas, and seeks connections in all he sees. Attention, observation, curiosity, and creative thinking are not gifts, but skills that grow with training and deliberate practice. As an educator and author, Jack teaches techniques and supports routines that develop these skills to make them a part of everyday life.


On the third Tuesday of each month from September thru May, the Mycological Society of San Francisco hosts a General Meeting open to Members and the public.  The Society has maintained our schedule of events using electronic media, Zoom, to meet and share  our mission to educate about the kingdom of Fungi. See Meeting page, for more

President's Message

Natalie Wren

Fellow fungal enthusiasts, thanks to the early rains, it looks like mushroom hunting season has kicked off!

I have been hearing reports of porcini here and there, chicken of the woods and large hauls of chanterelles in September. Let’s hope this season is as fruitful as last season (as if the season actually ended, people were still finding fire morels last week in the Sierra)! I am optimistic we will continue to see large fruitings of our favorite choice edibles in the coming weeks and months.

I am always a bit nostalgic when October rolls around. My birthday is October 1st and as a gift to myself many years ago I joined the MSSF. I loved eating and cooking mushrooms from a young age, and as an adult, I wanted to learn how to find the exotic wild mushrooms I couldn’t afford to buy. I was also eager to connect with like-minded people who loved mushrooms as much as I do. That gift to myself all those years ago has turned out to be the gift that keeps on giving.  Not only do I feel confident as a forager, some of my closest friends have come from spending hours and hours foraging and also from the time spent as a volunteer for the MSSF. 

The MSSF council has activated our Fungus Fair planning committee and hope to have news soon about our annual Fungus Fair. We are working hard to figure out if, when and where to have the event. Once we have a plan, we will put a call out for volunteers. 

Our next general meeting is already scheduled on zoom (Tuesday, Oct 18th at 7pm).We hope to resume in person meetings soon. Stay tuned for details.

By the way, I am writing this near Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. They claim to be The Mushroom Capital of the World. I’m pretty sure it’s because they’ve never seen what California has to offer ;).

Stay safe out there while you find everything foraging has to offer!

Natalie Wren
MSSF President 2022-2023

Culinary Corner

Hanna Docampo Pham

    No matter the time of year, you can always enjoy cultivated mushrooms. You’ve
probably seen buttons and portobellos in your favorite grocery store, but often stores also offer readily available king trumpets, enoki, wood ear, shiitake, oyster, and lion's mane. These edible mushrooms can be grown under regulated conditions, allowing them to be cultivated in farms and harvested fresh year round! You’ll find these mushrooms sold in farmers markets, grocery stores, and supermarkets.

Fresh mushrooms at Kukje Market, a local Asian supermarket
    When looking to purchase mushrooms, you can treat picking mushrooms similar to
picking fruits and vegetables. For the freshest mushrooms available, look for mushrooms that are unbruised and unblemished. The mushrooms should have a firm texture, but not be damp or dry. Interestingly, mushrooms that have matured and gills have opened are generally more flavorful than the same type of mushroom with closed gills.

    To retain freshness, it’s best to store mushrooms unwashed and uncut, in paper bags in a refrigerator. This helps keep the mushrooms dry, prolonging their shelf life as much as possible. If the mushrooms are dirty, they can be cleaned prior to cooking them.

    Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) are a common, easy-to-cook type of cultivated mushroom that should be a staple in all mushroom lovers' kitchens. They can be added to nearly anything and everything– sandwiches, noodles, soups, and simply sauteed alone –for buttery, savory flavor. This month’s recipe is a heartwarming soup that balances the flavor of shiitake with miso, a perfect meal for the cooler months ahead.

    The Shiitake stalks are removed for this recipe, as the stalks are quite chewy in the
soup. The stalks can be saved and used in creating flavorful broths.


Shiitake Miso Soup
Adapted by H. Docampo Pham

Serves 6-8 people

- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced with the white and green parts separated
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 8 cups water
- 1 lb fresh shiitake mushrooms, scored with the stalks removed
- 1/2 cup light miso
- 1 pound baby bok choy, cut into quarters
- 8 ounces firm tofu, cut into cubes

Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the sesame oil, white parts of the scallion, ginger, and garlic. Cook it for a minute, then add 8 cups of water and the furikake into the pot. Bring the pot to a simmer, but do not let it boil. Cook it for 10 minutes.

Add the shiitake mushrooms and the miso to the pot. Let it gently simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender.

Add the bok choy. Cook for 10 minutes more, or until the bok choy is tender. Add the
tofu and cook the soup for another 10 minutes.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the green parts of the scallions.

Culinary Group News

The Culinary Group hosted their most recent potluck outdoors at the Hall of Flowers on September 13th. It was lots of fun for the Culinary Group to reconvene for their first potluck of the MSSF season, with more than 40 people attending! Some of the dishes served include Black Trumpet pasta salad, Lobster mushroom and potato pizza, stuffed portobello mushrooms, morel focaccia, candy cap macaroons and more!

Monday, October 3rd, 2022 Culinary Group Potluck

Bring a dish to share, preferably one containing mushrooms! As usual, this dinner is BYOB, and you will also need to supply your own tablecloth, glassware, place settings, napkins, etc.

A short business meeting will be conducted at 6:30 pm, and the potluck will be right after. Everyone will be asked to help break down and clean up at the end of the evening. Registration is required to attend, but no payment is required at the time of registration. A fee of $10 per adult, $5 per youth (13-18 years old; 12 and under free) will be collected at the event. You must show proof of full vaccination in order to attend, and masks will be required when not eating/drinking.

Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park
9th and Lincoln
San Francisco, California

The MSSF Culinary Group is open to all MSSF members who are interested in the
gastronomical aspects of mushrooming as a participatory cooking group. Due to the current public health situation, the Culinary Group is holding monthly outdoor potlucks for small groups. Gatherings are generally held on the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the San Francisco County Fair Building (Hall of Flowers). Members of MSSF and the Culinary Group, and their guests, are invited to attend.

Cultivation Quarters

Ken Litchfield

Morel Cultivation
(Repost from March 2016)
Successful morel cultivation is one of the aspirational goals of the mushroom cultivation aficionado. So often folks have told me of their or someone else’s secret method of growing morels - that truly does work, so they have reliably produced multitudes of morels repeatedly - just not so that there is a fresh or dried specimen to show for it. Maybe they actually have pictures to show me, with hordes of pristine morels shown with what appears to be appropriate lighting and proper proportions to the pleasantly posed people smiling happily at their production. So often these gangbuster hordes of morels are reputed to be being produced in China or somewhere else that has figured it out for their local market, but for some reason those folks haven’t thought to try selling those in our more lucrative American marketplace. Possibly, and most likely, they actually have great sales patter from their marketing department but haven’t really been able to make the actual close on the deal because they don’t actually have the engineers in the R&D department on board with a fully fleshed out production line. Or most likely they just have really good Photoshop people.

---->>>> Read on...

MSSF 2022 “Mushroom Themed” Holiday Dinner

Curt Haney

MSSF Holiday Dinner

When: Sunday December 18th - 5:30 to 9:00 PM

Where: San Francisco County Fair Building, (Main Auditorium, Hall of Flowers)

Theme: Organized “Mushroom Themed Pot-Luck Dinner

Appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, salads, soups, and deserts. In addition, two mushroom gravies, (Porcini and Morels) and killer Egg-Nog, with and without alcohol.
Cost: to Attend: Adult members and guests; $10.00 each plus a pot-luck dish to share.

Youth of members and guests under 18, $5.00 each - Children under 12, FREE

We are looking into possibly live music and a “fun” fund raising raffle.

Mark your calendar and watch for the formal announcement with registration requirements, and additional information.

MSSF 2023 50th Annual Fungus Fair

“A Celebration of Wild Mushrooms”

The MSSF Council, and the Fungus Fair Planning Committee are hard at  work attempting to plan and organize a one-day in-person fungus fair sometime during January or February 2023.

A venue or date has not been determined yet, but it most likely will occur on a Sunday. The fair will most likely be a scaled down version of the most recent past large fairs due to Covid-19 concerns and the availability of volunteers. 

As soon as this information is known, it will be announced to the general membership.

Curt Haney
Fungus Fair Committee Planning Chair

Book Recommendation for this Month

MacKenzie Hridel

Mushrooms: An Illustrated Field Guide

Mushrooms: An Illustrated Field Guide is a compact, beautifully illustrated field guide to 50 North America’s most popular mushrooms. Inside this elegant hardcover, you’ll find profiles on individual species, each showcasing a full-page illustration, plus a definition of fungi, information on where to find mushrooms and how—and when—to collect them, and, last but not least, notes on how to avoid mushroom poisoning.

Niko Summers is a fifth-generation herbalist and comes from a long line of root workers and midwives. He became fascinated by fungi while studying their medicinal properties. In 2020, Niko founded Native Mushrooms, a mycology company that cultivates rare and medicinal species. When not studying herbs or fungi, Niko likes to go foraging in the woods or spend time in his garden. He is a Native San Franciscan, where he still lives with his dog. Find him on Instagram @nativemushrooms.
Like the sound of this book? Members can reserve it, or hundreds of other titles from around the world, through the MSSF library! Just go to the Member’s section of the website, and under the ‘Resources’ tab click on ‘Library’. Browse the titles, and to reserve a book just click on ‘Reserve’ on the far right of the screen. Our online library system is getting re-organized, so your patience is appreciated as we try to make it as easy to navigate as possible.
Mycena News - October 2022