Article: Underground Operators


I wrote a story for the Winter 2014-15 issue of Edible Portland about the Oregon truffle industry. Here it is! Entrepreneurs are feverishly trying to domesticate Oregon’s wild truffles. Will it work? By Lola Milholland Photo by Sarah Henderson   Two winters ago, I found myself with 40 people in raincoats, gators, and galoshes pouring … Continue reading

Mushroom News We’re Reading


Glasstire: The future is fungal – so says artists Phil Ross, who builds structures with reishi mushrooms. Oregon’s Agricultural Progress: The world of genomics goes fungal. High Country News: Startling and fascinating photos by Eirik Johnson of migrant foragers in the Pacific Northwest. Fast Company: Mushrooms eat plastic? Then get to work! Times Magazine: “I … Continue reading

Grow your own mushrooms


This summer, my friend Erin left a small box on my kitchen counter. Within days, this began. I took these photos over the course of three mornings. What in the world!? The box came from Back to the Roots, a business that recycles used coffee grounds by inoculating them with oyster mushroom spores. The coffee … Continue reading

Mycelia are the nervous system of the forest

02. Nikon 015 - blog

[ width=”620″ height=”400″] [Video from KarmaTube] This video features professor and forester Suzanne Simard of the University of British Columbia, explaining the way that mycelia connect trees within a forest. Mycelia, which are the underground fungi network that produce mushrooms, transmit signals as well as nutrients from the largest, oldest “mother trees” to the … Continue reading

Lost hedgehog hunters, rescued!


Last week, with wonder and relief, I learned that the three mushroom pickers who had disappeared in southwest Oregon near the coast were found after six nights without food or shelter. Using a sheath knife and a dead cellphone, Dan and Belinda Conne, both 47, and their 25-year-old son Michael, signaled to helicopters overhead through … Continue reading

Humongous fungus


Oregon is home to the largest known living organism in the world. In Malheur National Forest, near the eastern edge of the state, a network of mycelium stretches underground for 2,384 acres, an area as big as 1,665 football fields or 4 square miles. Scientific American (October 4, 2007) reports that this sprawling organism is … Continue reading

Fresh Air, full of spores

On the NPR show Fresh Air, Terry Gross recently interviewed mycologist Nicholas Money, who studies mushrooms and mold. His new book, Mushrooms, looks at the history and science of mushrooms around the world, and their inclination to grow just about everywhere (including the back of a man’s throat.) “Every breath that we take — from … Continue reading

Cats crave mushrooms


NPR recently reported on why cats crave mushrooms (January 7, 2012). I didn’t even know that they do! [Source: Feasting in the Skagit Foodshed.] The story sheds light on that very meat-like quality of mushrooms, which are similarly high in protein and glutamate – one of the chemicals responsible for the flavor of umami, which … Continue reading