by Bernie Seward
Mark your calendars for the Crested Butte Wild Mushroom Festival which will be held Thursday-Sunday, August 16-19, 2007. Each year the Festival takes place in the picturesque mountain community of Crested Butte, just thirty miles or so from Gunnison, Colorado. The entire community welcomes Festival participants and restaurants go out of their way to feature dishes with wild mushrooms. As you recall, last year in the Colorado mountains we had a bountiful harvest of wild mushrooms. In the Crested Butte area we saw mushrooms rarely seen there such as the lovely and delicious Polyozellus multiplex (Blue Chanterelle). Weʼre hopeful that this year will be just as productive since Crested Butte has had a good snowfall over the winter.
Much of the Festival program will look familiar to past participants but there are some additions.
- Dr. Michael Kuo, author of Morels and 100 Edible Mushrooms and owner of the Web site MushroomExpert.com, will present two seminars, one on morels and the other on boletes.
- This year the Festival will cater to children with a Foray for Kids. This will be a fun-filled “treasure hunt”. The treasure, of course, being mushrooms.
- There will also be a foray on easy terrain for those who find the regular Festival forays a little too rigorous or who cannot handle the altitude.
- Jannette Rungeʼs photography was so popular last year that a second foray focused on photographing mushrooms in the field is being offered.
- Each year in the past the Festival has ended up with quantities of good, edible mushrooms. This year Larry Evans will present some cooking demos using mushrooms from the Festival forays.
- A new restaurant in Crested Butte has been added to the restaurants offering wild mushroom cooking demonstrations with lunch to festival participants. Crave Cajun Cuisine will be cooking wild mushrooms with a Cajun touch. This should be very interesting and tasty.
In response to feedback from Festival participants, more identifiers have been added to assist. Larry Evans in the mushroom identification workshops so more individual attention can be provided this year. CMS members Rob Hallock and Ed Lubow will be on Larryʼs identification team and Dr. Kuo has offered to assist as well. Larry Evans returns to the Crested Butte Wild Mushroom Festival once again as Chief Identifier. On opening night, Thursday, he will give a lecture on wild mushrooms of the Colorado Rockies. He will be the main foray leader and he will lead the identification workshops. Past participants have enjoyed his wry sense of humor and have appreciated his ability to convey his knowledge of ourColorado mushrooms.
Dr. David “Dave” Teitler returns again by popular demand with his workshops on medicinal mushrooms. Once again there will be a workshop on preserving wild mushrooms. There will also be the always-popular wild mushroom cooking demonstrations with lunch featuring some of the finest chefs in Crested Butte.
Our fun will continue Friday night with a mushroom appetizer and wine social followed by a jazz concert. Our featured performer this year is René Marie. She is nationally known as an amazing vocalist who recently performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Since recently relocating to Colorado, she has enjoyed playing at a number of Colorado venues. René Marie will be accompanied by bassist Ken Walker, pianist Jeff Jenkins, and drummer Paul Romaine. It should be a spectacular evening!
Putting the fun back in fungi! Thatʼs what the Crested Butte Wild Mushroom Festival is all about. Crested Butte is only a few hours drive from Denver, but a world away in the mushroom season.
To learn more about the Crested Butte Wild Mushroom Festival visit the Festival Web site at www.cbmushfest.com.