Phone: 07964 569715
Well, mushroom season is nearly upon us once again, and this year there’s going to be a new book on fungi foraging to add to your collection. Here is your first chance to take a look inside and get a taste of what you can expect from Edible Mushrooms. To start with, here is the finished cover (click on the image to enlarge), with comments taken from reviews of the book by Rob Hopkins (founder of the Transition Town movement), Fergus “the forager” Drennan, Tim Maddams (of River Cottage fame) and Gary Johnston from Jack Raven Bushcraft. We decided to to buck the trend of putting a Penny Bun on the front of the book: these are Dark Honey Fungus, pictured growing in a conifer plantation in south-west Kent.
The book is divided into two sections: Part I consists of seven chapters on various aspects of fungi foraging, including an extensive chapter covering the different cultural attitudes to edible wild fungi in different parts of Europe, the historical origins of these cultural differences and the resulting differences in the legal situation. In places where fungi foraging has not, until very recently, been popular, the laws are likely to be out of date. If hardly anybody forages for fungi, then there isn’t much need for regulation, and vice versa. Part II – the bulk of the book – is the species guide.
This is a spread from the species guide, to give an idea of the sort of information provided for each of the 320 species covered in the book, and the quality and format of the photos. The Charcoal Burner is a common species, but it is not often you come across a patch like this, which shows the wide variation of cap colours that are characteristic of this species. Even less frequently do you find them in reasonable condition (wildlife finds them just as tasty as humans do) and at a time and place where the weather is good for taking photographs.
Here is the first half of the introduction, including a picture of yours truly taken by my wife, Cathy, on her phone. It was never intended to find its way into the book, but sometimes unplanned photos work out the best. The location is Eartham Woods in West Sussex on a rather foggy day in September 2013. Forestry monocultures like this are often derided by ecologists for their lack of biodiversity, but in the case of fungi they can sometimes turn out to be very rich hunting grounds indeed, especially if, as in this example, there is a lot of coarse woody debris littering the forest floor.
Edible Mushrooms: a foragers guide to the fungi of Britain, Ireland and Europe will go on general release on October 20th 2016 at an RRP of £19.99. You can already pre-order copies from the major online book retailers, you’ll be able to pre-order from the publisher Green Books very soon, and signed copies will be available directly from myself, a few days before the official release date, if you get in contact with me before the end of September (my email address is at the top of this page – please email me if you’d like to order a signed copy).