In the form of a Question & Answer interview, discover T2’s associate Daniel Tarte and his passion for mushrooms.
Why are you fascinated by mushrooms ?
“It’s the intriguing side of these living beings out there!”
What never ceases to amaze Daniel is the diversity of mushrooms. The indigo milk cap is a good example, with its velvety blue pigmentation. It’s also the importance of these organisms in nature that captivates him; some decompose organic matter and others are in symbiosis with plant roots. Mushrooms are essential in ecosystems !
Mushrooms also bring back Daniel to childhood memories of comic strips such as the Smurfs or the Mysterious Star in the Tintin series. For him, the first time he tasted a wild mushroom was like tasting food from another world. There are a multitude of new flavors and textures in the mouth. His favorite is the yellowing craterelle (Craterellus lutescens). Daniel also remembers how, at the farm, people would come into their forest, without authorization, to pick these precious mushrooms !
They’re also easy to grow, adding to the diversity of possibilities in urban agriculture.
What is the CCM?
The Cercle des mycologues de Montréal (CMM) is one of many organizations. The CCM offers training courses, field outings and more. Daniel describes a typical outing as : in the morning, there are explanations and a harvest, then in the afternoon, there’s a group identification by specialists of the specimens collected.
For him, these outings offer enormous learning potential and “bring people back to a curiosity, it’s like a treasure hunt!”
Another interesting resource is the ICSQ Facebook page, with over 51,000 members who are passionate about mycology.
What experience do you have in this field?
Daniel has been interested in mushrooms for twenty years. He has taken many courses on the subject, such as one on boletus, the different families and genera, and commercial harvesting.
He is now able to identify with certainty over 40 species of edible mushrooms, as well as several poisonous ones, an essential skill for anyone wishing to cook with them from time to time. For him, “every nature walk is interesting because there’s always something to discover, whether it’s plants, animals or mushrooms”.
These walks in nature also make him “aware of the great interconnectedness of trees, but even more so with mushrooms”, which are everywhere in the soil.
What advice would you give to a beginner who wants to start studying mycology ; identification / picking ?
“Mushrooms, you have to learn them one species at a time!”
Daniel recommends taking several courses, going on group outings and buying an identification book. It’s like learning a new language, it takes time. Daniel concludes by saying: “Don’t be in a hurry before tasting/eating a mushroom”, because some poisonous ones bear a strong resemblance to edible species!