Wild mushroom certification courses scheduled

Courses offer foragers necessary certification for selling wild mushrooms.

What could be better than tromping around the woods in northern Michigan? Tromping around the woods and foraging for mushrooms is one answer. Mushroom hunting is a popular past time in Michigan with several festivals around the state celebrating the mushroom during this exciting time of year. In addition to morels, there are several other edible varieties that call woods around Michigan their home. With morel season right around the corner, it’s time to consider a Wild Mushroom Foraging Certification Program. If you are a commercial mushroom forager needing to obtain certification or just interested in learning more about mushroom identification, you are in luck.

In order to sell mushrooms that have been collected in the wild, the state of Michigan requires that foragers are certified experts in mushroom identification. The regulation had been contentious since there was not a consensus among farmers, foragers, farmers market vendors and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) on what constituted an “expert”. Absent a sanctioned educational program to obtain certification, many foragers had to forego this important income stream a few years ago. Fortunately, the Midwest American Mycological Information Corporation will be offering courses this April that will allow those who successfully complete the class to obtain certification as an “expert.” Because even mushrooms that are considered “easily identifiable” can be mistaken for poisonous look a likes, this certification program is an important step to protect consumers and foragers.

Led by expert mycologists, the certification curriculum will include an overview of the characteristics used for proper identification and specimens of multiple varieties for viewing and identification. The cost for the day-long course is $175 for those seeking to obtain certification. Certification will only be provided to those who score 80 percent or higher on an identification exam. Certifications will be effective for five years. For those who are not interested in becoming certified, but are interested in learning, the cost is $85. Importantly, the day long workshop is considered a “review”; those without prior mushroom education should be aware that refunds will not be issued for test scores below 80 percent. Interested identifiers can view a sample test here.

Dates and locations for the trainings include:

  • April 15, 2017, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

The location for the April 15 class is on the campus of Michigan State University in the Biomedical and Physical Sciences Building (BPS), 567 Wilson Road, Lecture hall 1415. Please view the interactive MSU campus map if needed.

To register for a session please, visit http://www.midwestmycology.org

For more information on Mushroom identification, please check out these popular Michigan State University Extension Bulletins “May is Morel Month in Michigan” E-2755 and “Don’t Pick Poison” E-2777.

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