Why are Americans Afraid of Mushrooms?

December 29th, 2010


Alan Muskat does not suffer from mycophobia.

“People ask me why I do not grow mushrooms. For me it would be boring to know what I’m having for dinner each day.”

Growing up, Alan never imagined his life would have anything to do with mushrooms. Although one of his grandparents is from Belarus and two are from Poland, he never learned anything about nature from them. But who knows, maybe it’s in his blood.

“My parents ate pretty traditionally. They are first-generation immigrants from Cuba, though, so as a family we always felt somewhat like outsiders. That probably helped me to think ‘outside the box.’ They’ve also always worked for themselves. When I started this career, it was also to stay self-employed, independent, not part of The System. I decided to leave the big city and live closer to nature. Pretty soon I was able to not only save money but earn some.”

Back then, Alan was an outsider, but now foraging — and Alan with it — has become the center of attention. Everyone sees the need to go green. And in this economy, more and more people want to save money this way too.

To go with Alan to a forest is a real pleasure. He knows everything not only about mushrooms, but also about herbs and trees – he can turn an ordinary walk in the woods into a fascinating journey, where an incredible discovery awaits with every step.

Some mushrooms are toxic, others unpalatable, others unknown. But the smells, colors, and sounds of the autumn woods… isn’t that enough?


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