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Mushroom smarts

The article “Foraging for fungi” (Food by Simon Thibault, November 8) brought back memories of my heady youth in Halifax. This time of year brought out the more reckless or careless mushroom seekers---the ones, like me, who were looking for psilocybin mushrooms, as well as amanita muscaria, a close cousin to the death cap, and a mushroom that even with knowledge of can be deadly.

I applaud anyone who has the desire to educate themselves and to take advantage of all that nature has to offer. However, I know from experience that I got lucky. I had very little actual knowledge, and consumed the ones I picked a number of times, which is not something I’d recommend today. There actually are cases of folks getting deathly ill, at the very least, from ingesting the wrong mushroom. Not something I’m sure any young thrill-seeker or inner explorer is seeking for their experience. So all that said, I’m not trying to scare anyone away from these substances. Just educate yourselves, extensively. Because from my experience, too many who are willing to ingest these substances are in a hurry to get high---not a mindframe that is conducive to caution.

Bottom line: Be extremely careful if and when you decide to use wild mushrooms for any purpose. Remember, there are legitimate avenues of obtaining what you know will be what you are looking for. Also part of your education. —S.Moore, Halifax

I’ve been studying mycology, and trying to produce my own mushrooms from spores. I am amazed at the attention to detail, the amount of things that can and do go wrong and the high level of sterility you must attain. It has left me discouraged, but much more knowledgeable on the subject.

I’ve studied for a year now, and I know enough never to pick and eat an unknown mushroom. Ever. —posted by Kontee McZhidbolz at

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