Foraging Wild Mushrooms
Head into the Rockies with wild mushroom enthusiast Michael Heim for an afternoon mushroom foray and a walk in the woods. You’ll gain a firm handle on the foundations of mushroom identification as you locate a variety of medicinal and edible fungi growing in the wild. You’ll have a chance to discuss mushroom anatomy and learn the tools for contrasting mushrooms that may be poisonous with those that may inspire a dinner party. You’ll return with a better understanding of what it means to hunt for mushrooms – and hopefully some fungi to take home.
Training & Qualifications
I have been “hunting” in some form for my entire life. As a young boy my father and I traveled the sand-hills of western Nebraska in pursuit of the illusive coyote. Later, the hunting manifested in other ways: vinyl record, thrift and estate shopping. Always curious about what was growing around my neighborhood, it was not until I turned 30 that I turned my focus towards wild plants and mushrooms. During my last semester, while working in a restaurant and studying for a political science degree, I took a horticulture class to satisfy a hard-science requirement. It was around this time I learned how to forage for wild ramps (onions) and mushrooms. The passion was planted!
For over 15 years I have worn many hats working in the restaurant industry. I have done it all… cooking, bartending, managing, and serving. I have opened 4 restaurants and 1 bar over the course of my career. As a floor manager at the esteemed Kitchen restaurant in Boulder, I train my staff on the many aspects of food and beverage. Many of today’s spirits and liqueurs are rooted in medicinal/herbal history. I take great joy in unlocking this information for my students. I have been fusing my fervor for spirits and culinary creations with my passion for botany, mycology, and wild foods for the last 6 years. My unique experience in the culinary field and sensitive palate allows me to confidently sell choice, wild-foraged mushrooms to restaurants and to incorporate these rare ingredients in my cocktail creations.
In 2010 I joined the Colorado Mycological Society (CMS) and have been an active member ever since. Over the years I have learned much from lectures and forays offered by the Society. In 2014 I hosted a mushroom cultivation demonstration table at the annual CMS fair. I am currently the editor for Spores Afield, the CMS monthly newsletter.
In 2013 I became the first employee at the Boulder, Colorado based Center for Integrative Botanical Studies, founded by herbalist and ethno-botanist Erin Smith. With Erin’s strong mentoring I have learned much in the way of wild foods and herbalism. As her sole intern, I was able to gain a firm foundation on how to teach and lead “wild-crafting” forays for the general public. Along with leading forays I have instructed CIBS’ students on how to create their own cocktail bitters and limoncello, often incorporating wild foraged ingredients. In January 2014 I joined Boulder High Country Mushrooms as an apprentice learning how to cultivate choice edible and potently medicinal mushrooms. Additionally, I lead wild food forays for the Boulder based Living Arts School. In September 2014 I co-led a mountain foray workshop with renowned herbalist and mycologist Robert Rogers. In November of 2014 I presented at the annual Bioneers conference held at the University of Colorado on exploring myco-remediation, what possibilities mycelium has to offer for building soil integrity and it's overall importance to successful ecosystems. In the fall of 2014 I was fortunate enough to lead a gaggle of chef’s into the mountains for an exploration of what their foragers are looking for when they hunt from all over the US on a foray at the annual Chef’s Collaborative Summit. In February of 2015 I spent the entire month in Nevada studying lab technique at Aloha Medicinals. Later that year in collaboration with the Denver Botanic Gardens, Vera Evenson, and under the sponsorship of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, I led a large mushroom foray into the mountains teaching the basics of mushroom identification. I have several field trips planned for the summer with groups like Denver Botanic Gardens and Walking Mountain Science Center (Avon, CO). Check their websites for info.
Hit me up, lets make some trades!!!
Availability & Preferences
Most weekdays and sometimes over the weekend. Also, it is seasonally dependent.