Foragers and food entrepreneurs will want to check out the new program from the state of Michigan for wild mushroom certification.
The program, from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
, offers foragers and chefs a link to the state to be sure they're abiding by state regulations governing sale and harvest of wild mushrooms found in Michigan, like morels and chanterelles, and offers markets and restaurants the assurance of being able to buy from state-certified foragers.
The certification program covers health risks, mushroom identification and commercial regulations in Michigan, and was developed by Midwest American Mycology Information, the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art and Natural Design, and the Michigan Farmers Market Association. Wild mushroom sold at farmers markets or used in restaurants already have to be approved by certified mushroom identification experts, but the program will be an added step for mushroom sellers to increase their training and the chance of approval for sale.
"Our state has seen huge growth in both the demand for local products, including wild-foraged mushrooms, and the number of people interested in getting into mushroom harvesting and sales," says Kevin Besey, MDARD Food and Dairy Division director. "The new certification program will help provide proper training and approval, while assuring public health with regard to the identification, sale, purchase, preparation and service of wild-foraged mushrooms."
The training costs $175 per person for certification, or $85 for attending the workshops but not receiving the certification, which may be desired by farmers, chefs, or grocers. In the U.P., training will take place May 2 at the Marquette Food Co-op. More details, including how to register, are online here
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development