Intro to Wild Mushroom Foraging & Hike in Kawartha Highlands
- Participant Ages 13+
Calling all fungi lovers!
This immersive wilderness workshop brings you into the forest with a single delicious goal in mind: teaching you how to find, safely identify, and sustainably harvest wild edible mushrooms! Popular outdoors educator and avid forager Stephan Lukacic takes you deep into science, ecology, and methodology of modern mushroom hunting.
Did you know there are are thousands of mushroom species in eastern North America? Some have strange alien-looking shapes that don’t resemble the mushrooms you find in the grocery store at all. Some look like heads of cauliflower, beautiful corals you’d find under the sea, others like soccer balls, bird’s feathers, or dangling icicles that hang from tree trunks, dead stumps and logs, or that burst up from the forest floor through leaves and dirt.
Wild mushrooms have curious folk names like “Dead Man’s Fingers”, “Shaggy Mane”, “Witch’s Butter”, and “Bear’s Head Tooth”; but their scientific names are far more accurate and important. Some turn colours when they’re cut or bruised, others smell like common fruits, taste acrid or bitter, or even glow in the dark at night. Many wild mushrooms are delicious; others are toxic. Most are unpalatable, flavourless, or too tough to eat. A few are even deadly. But how do you know which is which?
This short, intensive “course” is designed to demystify wild mushrooms, giving you a solid foundation on which to build future foraging skills. The workshop begins with an engaging 90 min seminar that takes place in a beautiful outdoor classroom. You will receive a 6-page handout covering all the basics of mushroom hunting methodology, and read and discuss its contents thoroughly. Then you’ll do a deep dive right into the forest—putting the knowledge you’ve acquired directly into practice by identifying any wild mushrooms the group encounters in their natural habitat. There’s always tonnes of time for questions and conversation, and usually a bunch of laughs!
Mushroom hunting is a fascinating, gratifying, and often misunderstood outdoor activity. Come learn the basics of foraging for these fungal wonders of nature, learn tricks of the forager’s trade, and have a blast doing it!
*Note: You will not be foraging for wild mushrooms to take home. This workshop focuses on teaching you how to find and identify wild edible mushrooms. This is not a standard (boring!) foraging walk where a guide identifies mushrooms for you, which you then take home—having learned very little about how and why those mushrooms are safe to eat, where they like to grow, or how to properly harvest them!
During the beekeeping experience you will learn about the importance of honeybees and native pollinators, beekeeping basics, and have a chance to encounter amazing behaviours of honeybees first-hand. On our inspection visit to the beehives, we will put on protective suites and come in direct contact with the bees. You will have a hands on, educational experience with the bees and be able to ask all the questions you’ve ever wanted to know about bees and honey.
During our inspection visits to the native and non-native beehives, we will come in direct contact with the honeybees, learning about their relationship to the North American relatives and what we can do to help our native ecosystems.
Did you know that the honeybee is not native to Canada and is only one of a handful of species that produce honey? There are over 4,000 native bees in Canada and it’s important to recognize their importance in the ecosystem.
The honey we will taste is unheated, unpasteurized and unprocessed. It is collected by happy naturally-kept honeybees in the wild meadows of old Kinghurst Forest. Designated as an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI), Kinghurst Forest is a special place that offers a rare glimpse into Ontario’s natural past.
The mature hardwood old-growth forest provides the honeybees and other pollinators with a rich variety of rare native wildflower forage in May and early June. These spring ephemerals – plants that bloom briefly in spring, before the trees leaf out – are one of southern Ontario’s most beautiful displays and provide a one-of-a-kind delicately rich and vibrant flavour to the honey.
We’ll end the experience tasting local treats, cheese and honey. If weather allows, guests are welcome to have a picnic on the grounds after. Follow @iamfreija on Instagram for latest updates and more photos.
Please let us know if you are allergic to bees.
Important Tour Note: ALL TOURS ARE FINAL SALE. Tickets can be transferred to another person. Please contact us at least 72 hours before your purchased tour date to reschedule, and we will do our best to accommodate you. We cannot guarantee availability in the event of rescheduling. We do not offer refunds. No-shows will be charged the full price.
7:45am – Departure from Christie Station. *Note: if your tour is on a Sunday, the subway does not start running until 8 am, shuttle busses run down Yonge Street and Bloor Street, increasing your travel time slightly.*
10:00am – Washroom/last minute snack stop along the highway
11:00am – 2pm – Arrive at Stephan’s property in Haliburton and start the foraging course
2:15pm – Depart Stephan’s property and head toward Kawartha Highlands Provincical Park
3:15pm – Arrive at Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park and begin the Mississauga River Lake Loop (1.6km, rated Easy on AllTrails)
4:00pm – Depart the park and head to Peterborough for dinner. Location decided as a group, there are many options!
5:00pm – Dinner in Peterborough
7:45pm- Expected arrival time to Toronto, Christie Subway Station
Transportation there and back In a comfortable minivan, an educational beekeeping experience with Freija (bee suit included) and use of their facilities, plus guided hiking.
Bring snacks, lunch and enough water for the day. Wear appropriate/comfortable clothing for hiking and being in nature, closed-toe shoes, a bathing suit if you’d like to swim, sunscreen, bug spray. Please check the weather for the region beforehand. You can leave unnecessary items in the van if needed.