How to Collect Mushrooms: A Guide to Interesting Equipment

By Ellen Jacobson

Editor’s note – With holiday season approaching I thought it might be nice to put some foraging tools on your radar just in case you’ve caught mycophilia or know someone who has. Below is a nice description of some implements that might be helpful for your 2017 season. Enjoy!

As you begin your mushroom foray career, you might need a few tips on collecting equipment. ere are those who carry 50 items and those who carry 5. Most fall somewhere in the middle. I’d like to cover the rock bottom basic kit, and then add some handy additions.

e Basics:
Basket – Plastic is OK, but woven baskets are much prettier and will mark you as a serious collector. My basket measures about 14 x 19 x 8 and is woven probably of willow. ese baskets can be expensive, but are o en available at garage sales (or thri stores). Be sure to get one with a handle.

Knife – is is up to you. Swiss Army knives are useful but o en do not have large enough blades. I use a carpet or vinyl cutting knife with a very sturdy, curved blade. ey are strong and can pry even the toughest mushroom out of the ground. Sears usually has them. Be sure to tie it to your basket. e woods are littered with lost knives. Big he y Buck knives are also popular but may not be attachable to the basket.

Bags – Small brown paper bags for separating species are available at the Dollar Stores.

ese three items are about all you will need to get started.

Now for the good stu that will make your day easier. I also carry shing tackle boxes for small specimens, a whistle, a dandelion digger, a jeweler’s loupe, plus horror of horrors, plastic bags. I use these to nest mushrooms in layers in the basket. Plastic is OK but only if it is never in the sun and is not used outside the basket. I also carry pencil and paper to document important information.

Many bring paper towels, water spray bottles, compasses, and small wax paper baggies or a roll of waxed paper. Ready? Set! GO! Start looking about 7 – 10 days a er the summer rains begin.