A Magical Mycology Tapestry

Appalachian Voices
June 14, 2016

Alan Muskat, a wild forager and mycology devotee, sees mushrooms as being a gateway into deeper ecological awareness, helping the unlearned explorer see the forest as more than just a “green wall” of plants. He leads groups foraging in the forests in and around Asheville, N.C., and then brings the adventure to local restaurants, where experienced chefs craft his finds into delightful wild cuisine. The contentment Muskat feels when he is foraging for wild food has inspired his entrepreneurial business, No Taste Like Home.

“Getting into mushrooms was all about free food — the treasure hunt,” says Muskat. “The mythical garden of Eden is very real for me.”

Muskat works with the state to set standards for selling wild foraged mushrooms to restaurants, as the legality of the practice is currently murky at best. Along with mushrooms’ strong economic hook, he is also passionate about working with mycelium as part of fostering climate resilience skills, namely food security and conservation. He teaches youth about wild foraging and is excited about more people looking toward farming mushrooms to make income from large tracts of land without deforesting it.

“We think we’re separate, but we’re not. We’re just like mushrooms, all connected to Earth,” says Muskat.

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