The MHMA  Monthly Mushroom Speaker Series 

Winter is certainly upon us and while the mushrooms are resting under the snow we can continue to be fascinated by fungi through our Monthly Mushroom Speaker Series.
Every 1st Tuesday of the month we will meet at the Marbletown Community Center, 3564 Main St, Stone Ridge, NY 12484 at 6:45pm to hear from a different presenter on their expertise in Mycology at 7pm.
Remember, these events are sponsored by the MHMA and are Free and Open to the Public so bring a friend or 4.
We will have more presenters as the months progress.
If you have a suggestion for a speaker or would like to present on a certain subject within mycology, please let John know via email at John@CatskillFungi.com

January 2nd John Michelotti, the MHMA President and founder of Catskill Fungi, will be giving a presentation and hands-on workshop on Growing Oyster Mushrooms From Coffee Grounds. Please bring a recycled container (glass or plastic jar) with your freshly roasted coffee grounds if you would like to go home with your own sample. We will be supplying spawn and some coffee grounds but can not guarantee everyone a sample.

February 6th Jeffrey Mann, past student of Mycologist David Largent, will present on Basic Microscopy.

The 2017 Annual Potluck was a huge success. Thanks to everyone for bringing amazing dishes and raffle items! Here are a few snap shots from the event.2017-11-19 13.40.162017-11-19 13.41.29 2017-11-19 13.43.32 2017-11-19 13.43.23 2017-11-19 13.43.05 2017-11-19 13.42.46

 If you would like to lead a walk in 2018, please let us know at a meeting or by emailing Erwin, our walk coordinator: eakarl@yahoo.com


2017 Monthly Mushroom Speaker Series Presentations & Past Events

Koji – A 2000 Year Old Sensation


Aspergillus oryzae, commonly called koji, may just be the oldest new sensation in the food world. Join chef Rob Handel to learn more about this amazing fungus and what it can do in the kitchen. The presentation will cover a summary of what koji is and it’s basic biology and life cycle, history of koji’s use in Asia, directions for growing your own koji at home, and how you can apply that koji in your cooking. After the presentation there will be samples of koji-fied food available to taste.

Rob Handel has been cooking since his grandmother first set him to cracking eggs and peeling potatoes in her resort kitchen as a child. Since then he has broadened his culinary horizons through research and travel, as well as periods of formal study in biology, chemistry, and culinary arts. Rob is currently the executive chef at The Bees Knees Café at Heather Ridge Farm, where he crafts both classic dishes and unique preparations pairing the meat and poultry raised on the farm with local produce, cheeses, dairy, and foraged goods. While not in the kitchen, Rob can be found in the woods foraging mushrooms and wild foods, or tending to his own small home farm.

The Dawn of Mushroom Materials – Sue Van Hook


Ecovative’s former Chief Mycologist, Sue Van Hook, will describe the journey that led to new materials science using mushroom mycelium as a natural resin. From dream guidance to a persistent professor, two engineers were led to start a new company, that in its tenth year has broken ground as the natural alternative Mresin® for engineered wood, replacing toxic formaldehydes currently used to make particleboard.

Sue is a mycologist, naturalist, teacher and healer. She has been studying the taxonomy and ecology of fungi for the past 40 years, having begun her coursework in the Pacific Northwest where the mushroom season lasts 9 months of the year. She completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees in botany and mycology at Humboldt State University under the tutelage of Dr. David L. Largent, an authority on pink-spored mushrooms and author of the How to Identify Mushrooms series of books.

Sue worked for 5 years in land conservation for The Nature Conservancy managing a Northern California Coastal Dunes Preserve where she also conducted her graduate fieldwork. She moved to Belgrade Maine in the mid-eighties and worked as Director of Land Conservation and Stewardship for Maine Coast Heritage Trust.

For 18 years she taught biology and environmental science labs at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. Sue joined the Mushroom Materials company Ecovative as a Mycological Consultant at the outset in 2007, and has worked as the Chief Mycologist and Mushroom Whisperer for the past 5 years. Her work involves cultivating fungal strains from the wild, experimenting to optimize fungal performance and material characteristics for various product applications, training and mentoring all staff members in the biology of the fungi, and maintaining a high vibrational energy for the manufacture of living Mushroom® Materials through the use of plant essential oils and Healing Touch Therapy.

Also, mark your calendars for the following Monthly Mushroom Speaker Series on April 4th. Same mushroom place. Same mushroom time.

Drawing From Perception: Mary Banning and the Art of Fungi


Our next event is a continuation of our 1st Tuesday Monthly Mushroom Speaker Series!
January 3rd at 7pm in the Marbletown Community Center
3564 Main St, Stone Ridge, NY 12484

The relationship of art and science is a story told vividly through the world of botanical illustration. With the rise of interest in North American natural history during the 19th century many talented, and often unrepresented artistic figures were made. In this talk we will meet one of those figures, Mary Banning, whose forgotten manuscript ‘The Fungi of Maryland’ is emerging as an essential record of one woman’s journey into the world of fungi. Banning (1822-1903) illustrated and identified fungi when reference material was scarce and a woman’s participation in science was laregely unacknowledged. In this seductive compendium, scientific observation, personal anecdote and 174 watercolor illustrations meet to form a rich record from the past, and feels as relevant as ever today.

Alanna Burns is an artist, craftsperson and amateur mycologist in New York. It all started when Alanna saw five different species of mushrooms growing on her block in Bed Stuy. When she discovered one could be used to dye her pants, she was all in. Alanna works with nature’s materials in Wingdale, NY and helps people to see that fungi are everywhere, can heal and nourish, even set you free.

Also, mark your calendars for the following Monthly Mushroom Speaker Series on February 7th. Same mushroom place. Same mushroom time.

Photohacks for Fungal Conservation by Zaac Chevez

December 6 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm


Our next event is a continuation of our 1st Tuesday Monthly Mushroom Speaker Series!
December 6th at 7pm in the Marbletown Community Center
3564 Main St, Stone Ridge, NY 12484

Part how-to, part conservation science, this talk will prepare you to achieve marvelous documentation with obsolete(ie cheep) digital camera technology. As a subarctic cyclist local to the area Zaac will largely discuss bioregional and cold-weather adapted fungi.

Often turned to for field expertise regarding fungi, Zaac Chaves guides people through realms in which the details matter immensely. Zaac has worked as a naturalist with Westcheter County. He is a specialized collector at the behest of The New York Botanical Gardens, The National Parks Service, and Harvard. He has and has been honored by the Explorer’s Club regarding his Transtaïga bicycle journey. Zaac is long time member of COMA Connecticut Westchester Mycological Association and currently active with the Boston Mycological Association.

Also, mark your calendars for the following Monthly Mushroom Speaker Series on January 3rd. Same mushroom place. Same mushroom time.

Welcome to the Mid-Hudson Mycological Association

Join us on a walk — Get to know us — become a member…

Some fun events coming up that you may want to check out!John Michelotti will be teaching about growing mushrooms from waste products like coffee grounds, cardboard, and even old clothes at Trash Fest.  June 4th at the Marbletown Transfer Station from 12:30-3:30pmBill Bakaitis will be talking about fungi in the woods during the Bio Blitz.   June 10th & 11th at the Thorn Preserve in Woodstock
Thursday July 28th – Sunday July 31st:  2016 NEMF foray at Fitchburg State University.  The theme is “The Role of Fungi in the Ecosystem”

Message to MHMA Members – from new president John Michelotti

Hello MHMA Members!

Finding morels out there? Maybe just morals. Hopefully both.
Some upcoming events may that may interest you:
MHMA President John Michelotti will be on WIOX Radio show “The Farm Hour” talking about nutritional values of mushrooms and food. In light of many recently released films such as “Forks Over Knives” and Michael Pollins “Cooked”, he and host Erwin Karl are focusing on how mushrooms can provide many nutritional benefits as veg​e​tarians search for non-gmo and non-soy based types of protein.
Tune-in May 9th at 6pm Online at WIOXRadio.org  or 91.3 on your radio dial in the Catskills.
Happy Hunting,

John Michelotti

Catskill Fungi
344 Oliverea Rd
Big Indian, NY 12410

Newsletters:  We’ve added some old newsletters from 2005 and 2006 for your

(nostalgic) reading pleasure.  You can find them at the bottom of the right column in,
 …or, see the latest newsletter from our president.

Here are some pictures from one of the Locust Grove walk







Sharing the Wealth, Growing Mushrooms

Gerry McDonald

Although I don’t consider myself an expert by any means, I decided to host a log inoculation workshop for our club this year. It was a labor intensive journey, but involved a lot of the things that I like to do, working in the woods, working with mushrooms and sharing a common interest with others.

My first experience with Shiitakes was in the spring of 2011 at a MHMA workshop. I inoculated 2 logs. 2011 was a wet summer and that fall I was able to admire, photograph, harvest and eat some beautiful shiitakes. With my interest sparked, I inoculated about 20 logs in the spring of 2012. While dealing with some personal health issues, I didn’t do any extra watering or really pay much attention during the next couple summers and I only got a few mushrooms. The spring and early summer of 2014 was wetter and I watered often during middle and later part of summer when things got dry. Success came in September 2014 when I forced a fruiting. I soaked 3 batches of logs in as many days in a 55 gallon drum and the following week I was awash in Shiitakes. I ate them, dried them and gave them to friends.   With this background I thought it would be a good idea to host a workshop.

At a February club meeting, I floated the log inoculation idea with a cost of $6.00 per 100 plugs and 8 people signed up that night. Ultimately 25 people signed up, mostly for batches of a hundred shiitake or a hundred Lion’s Manes plugs or both. Then came the planning, how many extra plugs should I order? How much wood will we need? What are the necessary tools and where can we do this work with a lot of people. I ended up ordering 3000 shiitake plugs and 2000 Lion’s Mane plugs along with 10 pounds of sealing wax, wax daubers, metal tags for marking the logs with species and inoculation date and 5 pounds of sawdust inoculated with Lion’s Mane mycelium. Most people brought a drill, drill bit, cans for melting wax and wax brushes.

One of my favorite parts was working in the woods getting the logs or bolts as they are called. With requests for 36 bolts, I figured I would need at least twice that. I selected several oak trees from a silvacultural perspective. The snow was deep this year and I dropped the trees so that the middle of the crowns landed in the logging road where I could work. Then limb by limb, marking and cutting 3 foot sections of 3 to 7 inch diameter limbs, I loaded them up on the pickup and piled them the deep snow in the pines to maintain moisture levels. A week or so before the workshop, I moved the bolts to a spot behind the garage which was out of the sun. That would have worked out well if the weather cooperated. With the forecast calling for below freezing temperatures and 15 mph winds, we decided a couple days before that the original idea of doing everything outside was a bad idea, so we moved into the garage. Several days before, I moved the frozen logs into the garage so that they would thaw before the workshop. We brought in benches and chairs, a picnic table, several recently built log cradles and lots of extension cords and power strips.

By 10 AM we had a full house. People had their logs and for the next couple hours we drilled, pounded plugs, melted wax to wax over plugs and log ends and tagged the inoculated bolts with permanent metal tags. The extra plugs came in handy as many people wanted to do more inoculation. In all we used almost 4000 plugs and over 50 logs that day. One of the highlights was the totem method demonstration by John Micholetti. We cut an 8 inch diameter sugar maple log into 2 one-foot sections with 2 inch log cookies on each end. John buttered about a quarter inch layer of Lion’s Mane inoculated sawdust spawn into each cut. This assembly was fastened together with thin wood strips nailed to the sides and the whole assembly was wrapped in a black plastic garbage bag. We hope to see good colonization and some Lion’s Mane mushrooms this fall or if not maybe next fall.

Lunch provided a great break from the morning’s work in the cold garage. Carol didn’t disappoint and served an awesome venison pot roast and vegetable lasagna. This was complimented by all the other great food brought along by the group. The feasting and socializing extended into the afternoon after which everyone went on their merry ways with a full belly and an arm full of hopes for mushrooms to come. I hope they all find a good home and fruit heavily in the years to come.

For more information on growing mushrooms see:



Copyright © 2013 The Mid Hudson Mycological Association