National Fungus Day 2013

National Fungus Day was held for the first time on Sunday 13th October 2013 and the DFG chose Brownsea Island to celebrate it.

Brownsea’s Fabulous Fungi

Dorset Wildlife Trust played host to 50 fungus foragers this Autumn, for a walk around event on Brownsea Island that was a fitting celebration of the UK’s first National Fungus Day.

70 species spotted in just a few hours!

The route, organised by DWT’s Brownsea Island Warden, Abby Gibbs in partnership with the Dorset Fungus Group and open to island residents and staff, covered National Trust grounds and the Dorset Wildlife Trust nature reserve, in order to make the most of what Brownsea had to offer both fungus fanatics and newcomers alike.  For safe foraging, some of the Dorset Fungus Group’s most proficient, long-standing fungus foraging members led the way when it came to identifying fungi and with over 70 species spotted in just a few hours, a great foray was had by all.

Fascinating Fungi

Matt Tattersall is relatively new to foraging and said of the event: “This is the third Dorset Fungus Group event I have been on this season and I am slowly gaining confidence in my ability to identify a small group of fungi.  The members of the group are a lovely generous bunch of people, keen to share their knowledge and pass on information. I have been amazed by the variety of colours when it comes to fungi ­ it’s fascinating.”

Cooking up a tasty treat

After identifying and collecting some of the edible species, the group surrendered some of their ‘booty’ for the common good back at The Villa, where Giuseppe Sinaguglia from the Olive Tree Cookery School, was waiting to cook up a tasty treat so that participants could reap the rewards and enjoy the fruits of their morning’s labour.  What was on offer?  None other than a mushroom risotto of course!  A risotto so tasty, that the scene after eating very much resembled something akin to Oliver with everyone gathering around for ‘seconds’ until the cooking pot was empty.

Giuseppe said of the cooking demonstration: “It’s always a pleasure to come to this special island and I am always pleased to share my cooking experience with people so that they can recreate the recipes in their own home.”

 Joint partnerships to benefit each other’s knowledge

Roger Armstrong, Chair of the Dorset Fungus Group was delighted with the event, saying: “We are very pleased to be able to come to the wonderful site of Brownsea Island for the first National Fungus Day.  To have a foray here and find over 70 species and to finish the day with a wonderful mushroom risotto cooked before us is just marvellous.”  He added, “Thanks go to Abby for taking us to some of the best spots on the island.”

Zina Roworth, National Trust volunteer and former Chair of the Dorset Fungus Group member and one of the event organisers added: “This is one of the biggest events we’ve had so far as we have had islanders ­ National Trust, John Lewis Partnership and Dorset Wildlife Trust employees and their families ­ join together and benefit from each other in terms of knowledge.  Having people who can positively ID fungi is the key thing.”