San Francisco Fungus Fair 2022 Highlights

The expanding spectrum of interests in fungi will be on display at the 50th Anniversary Mycological Society of San Francisco Fungus Fair on January 23, 2022, at the Orinda Community Center (OCC) in Orinda.

“The spacious OCC campus has open windows and doors that catch the slightest breezes, and we’ll ensure that vendors and the public can easily maintain safe physical distances,” Todd Trimble, the county’s director of Parks and Recreation observes. “Contra Costa health guidelines will prevail!” That said, check for fair updates at mssf.org.

Panel Discussion: Myceliating the Market

  • Don’t miss this panel moderated by Mario Gabiati, whose community organization, Mycelial Mass Mushroom Meetup, encourages people to have fun, make friends, and learn through hands-on projects on fungal biology, cultivation, and science.
  • Patty and Ray Lanier of family farm Mushroom Maestros talk about growing and cooking mushrooms at home.
  • Max Burmeister of Soilless Farming Solutions in Clayton shares expertise on growing nutrient-dense foods using waste materials.
  • Eleana Hsu and Kevin Gondo talk about koji and Shared Cultures.

Panel Discussion: Worst Fears and Best Information 

  • Watch the 1960s monster/horror B movie Matanga, in which people in a jungle are infected by mushrooms and turn into giant mushrooms themselves.
  • Hear author and illustrator James Albon speak about The Delicacy, a tale of organic farming, greed, murder, and rare mushrooms that diners can’t get enough of.
  • Get savvy as Mycological Society of San Francisco members talk about mushroom identification and taxonomy, encouraging observation and understanding using tools that can make mushrooming a fun and fearless family event in nature.

Found around the Fair

  • Make a “mushroom bag” with BAAM. It’s a fundraiser for this citizen-science group, and they’ll help you inoculate your bag with oyster mushroom spawn to grow at home. “The oyster is a phenomenal mushroom,” says Mino de Angelis. “We take it for granted too often because it is very affordable at Monterey Market. The bags are very productive, and everyone goes away happy.”
  • View a display of expertly identified fungi collected from various Bay Area locations. The MSSF annual collections constitute a 50-year record of the early winter fungal diversity in our area. This historical information may become an important contribution to science as climate change affects our local ecosystems.
  • Help choose California’s State Mushroom in this statewide straw poll.
  • The fair’s outdoor Mushroom Mart is free and open to the public.