If you asked me what a perfect Autumn day looked like, it would be foraging for mushrooms in a moss covered forest with rainbow leaves, racing the sunset and first frost.
I was raised in Pennsylvania, the mushroom capital of the world. It is no wonder why I fell in love with these magical little fungi friends early on in life. There are over 10,000 known kinds of mushrooms, and more than 50% of US supply grows from my native state.
Interestingly, mushrooms are more closely related to humans than plants and share the same pathogens. They have been consumed for thousands of years as food, used as medicine for their powerful immune boosting abilities and have also shown phenomenal response for mental health due to their adaptogens which work as cognitive enhancers and creating new neuropathways. Mushrooms offer incredible benefits for the skin, too! They naturally work with the human body and have been found to tighten, brighten, grow collagen and increase the overall health and appearance of the dermis. I incorporate mushrooms into all product formulations, my diet and everyday life.
Many mushrooms grow on decomposing wood and can be easily identified by their specific qualities. They have a wide range of beautiful colors, sizes, and textures. What is also outstanding, is the network which they create beneath us. Mushroom Mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus, consisting of fine white filaments, which is the fabric and foundation of our earth, holding up to 30,000 times it's mass and feeding nutrients to the life surrounding it. Myclieum, which plays an important role in the decomposition of various complex organic compounds, converts biomass to compost. They create a communicative living web and can enhance crop yields through their symbiotic relationship with plants.
From this knowledge, Mushrooms are also gaining popularity in research as natural pesticides, and some have been uncovered for their ability even convert non-biodegradable plastics into healthy soil - making positive strides for the environment.
Will Mushrooms save the world?
*When foraging, please keep in mind that it is crucial to properly identify all mushrooms. Although many are edible, quite a few mushrooms have near identical look-alikes that are highly poisonous.