Chicken of the Woods edible fungi growing on decaying woods. Photo courtesy Jessica Wolf

Errington resident Jessica Wolf is getting ready to hold her annual Wild Edible Plants and Mushrooms workshops.

The three and a half hour workshops, taking place from October 17-19, focus on learning to identify local wild edible plants and mushrooms.

Wolf said the goal of these workshops is to help promote sustainable living and give people the ability to distinguish edible plants and mushrooms from poisonous ones.

Wolf said she was first introduced to this 12 years ago when she went picking chanterelle mushrooms with a friend. “I was hooked right away,” said Wolf.

She has been holding these workshops every fall for eight years now and said there are great benefits to being aware of what you can and cannot eat.

Wolf said that not only is it beneficial to know  which mushrooms not to eat, but it can also help save money.

“I have been able to pick gourmet mushrooms that I could never afford at the grocery store,” said Wolf. “I have also had the opportunity to trade for other foods people have grown or picked, or even sell some.”

During the workshop, the attendees will be taken on a walk through the forests in the Englishman River area looking for edible plants and mushrooms.

Wolf said the interest she receives is great; almost every workshop is full each year.

She said that throughout these workshops and her experiences with picking mushrooms, she has found herself learning about medicinal values of these plants as well.

“It creates a different relationship with the plants,” said Wolf. “It makes you more aware of the connection to earth and its ability to give life.”

Wolf said there is a wide variety of people taking her workshops­—from people who have moved here from other countries who are experienced, or people who have no idea what they are doing and just want some guidance.

She also holds workshops throughout the other seasons. In the spring she focuses her workshops on edible greens, and in the summer the focus is berries.

The October workshops focus on both edible plants and mushrooms, but there is also a workshop focused on just mushrooms coming up in November.

Workshops cost $45 each and are limited to 15 people. Advanced registration and payment is required.

For anyone interested in learning more about what our island has to offer, or wanting to sign up for a workshop, click here.