Mushrooms, you either love ‘em or hate ‘em and I love ‘em! Okay, probably not when I was a kid but my aging adult taste buds enjoy the mushrooms earthy, sometimes pungent flavour. Here in Squamish (the whole Pacific Northwest really) we are very fortunate; these tasty little morsels are growing right in our backyard. Of course, I don’t recommend you just go into the forests around Squamish and start randomly sampling all the fungi you find, however, I know there are many knowledgeable folks who do go foraging quite successfully.
The difficult part is finding someone who will take you with them into the B.C. forest and train you to find the difference between deathly, delirious and delicious mushrooms. Turns out mushroom pickers are quite territorial. I once saw a Craigslist post for a local forager who was looking for some help during the mushroom picking season. The post made it sound like he was going to blindfold you until you got to the forest and have you sign a non-disclosure agreement so his precious mushroom locale would remain his and his alone. I mean, I get it, the price that some of these mushrooms can fetch is staggering and the sea to sky corridor is filled with high-end restaurants who are ready and willing to pay it. And let’s not forget that some of these exotic ground warts like Pine mushrooms are sent overseas for up to $30 a pound. This can translate into some foragers earning up to $200 an hour during the season!
Just when you think mushrooms couldn’t get any more popular, they are now part of a new health trend. Obviously, we know they were healthy before but health enthusiasts want us to harness the power of the fungi in every way we can. You may have already heard of mushroom tea (ahem…hallucinogenic or otherwise) but now we have mushroom coffee. Have you tried it? One of the largest companies making this brew is Four Sigmatic. But I must admit, as a lover of fine espresso this beverage brews up more like instant coffee, ugh. It’s alright, I guess, especially when you are supposed to factor in the health properties coming from mushrooms like Chaga, Reishi and Lion’s Mane. Nevertheless, it cannot replace my daily latte fix!
However, now there’s a new ‘shroom java in town. Well not our town but there is a company based out of Montreal called MushUp. They have started to refine the process of mushroom coffee. They are using the entirety of locally grown mushrooms and partnering with local coffee roasters to incorporate them into ethically sourced coffee beans. The product you purchase is still a pre-ground bean but with three different grind options you can brew this coffee in a more traditional manner, including in an espresso maker!
Needless to say, I am very curious and yes, I have placed my first order! I will be sure to update you on how this mushpresso tastes and if I’m feeling focused, less-stressed, more stimulated, productive, sleeping better, less “forgetty” and generally healthier inside and out!!!