The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions
Everett Public Library staff | libref@everettwa.gov
Published: Wednesday, February 19, 2014, 8:00 a.m.

The Mushroom Hunters

  • EPLS catalog

As our days grow dark, dank, and dismal, I like to read books about people who work outdoors in all types of weather. Maybe it just makes me feel warm and snug as I sit inside reading.

If you are interested in foraged foods or just eating, The Mushroom Hunters by Langdon Cook takes you out into the woods with the people who make their livelihoods collecting the mushrooms that go to restaurants and stores for our eating pleasure. The woods where they find these mushrooms are deep and dark and lonely (and sometimes scary and dangerous and home to drug manufacturers). Most mushroom pickers are secretive and protective of “their” picking patches, even though most are on public lands. Langdon Cook makes a friend of one picker, Doug, who allows him to tag along and introduces him to their world.

We meet pickers, most of whom are not friendly to strangers, and some of whom are downright paranoid. They work year-round in the woods, traveling up and down the coast, as different varieties of mushrooms come into season. Over the years they have become very knowledgeable and intuitive about the growing habits of mushrooms.

The pickers sell the mushrooms to buyers. As you’d expect, there are some buyers who are less honest than others. Doug introduces Cook to one of his favorites, Jeremy Faber. Faber started as a picker and wholesaler and went on to become a buyer who now sells to upscale restaurants and grocery stores. He also sells from a booth in Pike Place Market. He is very ambitious and focused , working both to expand the market for mushrooms and wild foods, and to grow his business.

Cook works with pickers and buyers, many of whom are colorful characters you might not want moving in next door to you. We also get to tag along for visits to fancy restaurants and hear from some of the chefs who use the expensive mushrooms. This book allows us entry into a world and lifestyle most of us will not experience. I personally prefer to continue eating the mushrooms rather than searching the woods for them (I’m afraid of running into a zombie). I’m planning to seek out different varieties after reading this work.

If you've had a chance to read this excellent book and would like to discuss it further, you are in luck. On Monday February 24th, starting at 6 in the Northwest Room at the Main Library, you can join in a book discussion of The Mushroom Hunters lead by our northwest historians.

Be sure to visit A Reading Life for more reviews and news of all things happening at the Everett Public Library.

Story tags » Books

Sign up for HeraldNet headlines Newsletter
See sample | Privacy policy

Most recent A Reading Life posts

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

» More life


HeraldNet highlights

Who are these people?
Who are these people?: Before you vote, get to know the candidates
Waiting for a home
Waiting for a home: Animals up for adoption at NOAH (updated photo gallery)
Herald endorsements
Herald endorsements: Opinions on election races from the Herald Editorial Board
By land or by water
By land or by water: Packrafts open up entire landscapes to explorers
SnoCoSocial