You may be surprised to learn that North Carolina is home to more than three thousand varieties of mushroom. About two hundred of those are edible, and you can find a major concentration of those growing wild in the Asheville and Blue Ridge foothills area. Taking forays into the woods to gather them is a popular pastime for the residents of mountain towns in North Carolina.
In addition, the cultivation of gourmet and medicinal mushrooms began decades ago in the region. As interest in locally-grown products increased, many landowners, farmers and gardeners took advantage of our abundance of forested land to gain expertise in the growing of some of the more popular mushroom varieties. Now, you can easily find them at Lenoir Downtown Farmers Market and venues in Conover, Collettsville, Boone, Spruce Pine, Vilas, Banner Elk and other nearby towns.
Any list of things to do in Lenoir NC for the mushroom aficionado would have to include wild fungi foraging through the woods of the Patterson School campus with local expert Ken Crouse. Bring your basket and take home a collection of rare delicacies. Afterward, there’s a cooking demonstration and tasting. The Patterson School Foundation’s mission is to provide educational opportunities with a strong commitment to environmental stewardship, sustainable agriculture, historical preservation and the community.
Growing gourmet mushrooms such as shiitake and oyster on freshly-cut logs is not a difficult process, but it’s necessary to pay attention to certain details in order to be successful. Whether you’re doing it entirely on your own or working with one of the area’s community gardens such as the one we enjoy so much at The Coves Mountain River Club, you can always get assistance from the NC Cooperative Extension at the Caldwell County Center in Lenoir and the Wautauga County Center in Boone. It’s just another one of the many opportunities for lifelong learning you’ll discover here in the foothills.
Many people who live in mountain towns in North Carolina and have a common interest in learning about, collecting, growing and eating the local fungi join the Asheville Mushroom Club. They meet on the last Thursday of the month, from March through November. The group ranges from beginners to professional mycologists and includes photographers, artists and nature enthusiasts. There are guest speakers and special events to enjoy, and the more experienced members are happy to share their knowledge with anyone who wants to learn. One – Charlotte Caplan – is the author of Cooking with the Asheville Mushroom Club,
We find no shortage of things to do in Lenoir NC. People move here for the clean mountain air, the year round mild weather, the outdoor activities, the natural beauty, the local history and culture…the list goes on and on. It’s safe to say that most aren’t aware at first that this is the wild mushroom capital of the world. But it’s not long before they meet someone who’s found great satisfaction in working with others in community gardens or carefully tending a private patch of edible or medicinal mushrooms. It’s easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm, and so you take yet another step in your journey of lifelong learning.
At The Coves Mountain River Club, our Isabel’s Garden is nestled in a sunny spot adjacent to the Johns River, with dividers that create an English-style ambience. Residents have the option of maintaining their own garden plots or asking for help from our garden committee. Tomatoes, peppers, radishes, greens and watermelon do well in the nutrient-rich soil, along with herbs such as rosemary, basil, oregano, sage and mint. You’ll also see daffodils, tulips, lilies, sunflowers and assorted mountain wildflowers.
Please plan to stop by and take a tour of The Coves Mountain River Club when you’re in the area. We’d love to show you around.
There’s so much to see and do here that it’s easy to understand why it’s an ideal place to retire and enjoy your life to the fullest.
Call 828.754.0700 now!