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Fungophiles gather for the Telluride Mushroom Festival
Fungophiles will gather this weekend in Telluide for one of the region's oldest and most esoteric summer events - the Telluride Mushroom Festival.
Now in its 29th year, the shroom fest brings together some of the country's leading mycologists with foragers, cooks, and cultivators for a four-day exploration of biology's oddest and most ubiquitous kingdom. Neither plant nor animal, fungi includes all molds, yeasts and mushrooms. They're found in your antibiotics, on your pizza, and between your shower tiles. Even so, their devotees search them out and categorize them with all the attentiveness of a train spotter. They will have their work cut out for them this summer. Local foragers say a cool, rainy June has kept some of the most popular edible mushrooms like chanterelles from fruiting in any kind of abundance this summer. But even if there's nothing to saute, there will be plenty to discuss.
This year's mushroom festival events are heavy on the spiritual and culinary aspects of fungi. Featured speakers include Britt Bunyard, editor-in-chief and publisher of Fungi magazine, writer David Rose, and the festival's own eminence grise, Gary Lincoff.
I was in Telluride for the annual Shroom fest back in 2004. Paul Stamets did an awesome talk on mushrooms and spirituality.. Although the festival is dedicated to mushrooms of all kinds, including culinary types, there was a fairly large collection of psylocibin enthusiasts.