Morel Majority

Mycologists know the benefits of rain. Bolete, chanterelle, morel—all come out to play on the forest floor after a good soaking.

Some are delicious, with complex or delicate flavors, some taste like cardboard, and some are deadly. The poisonous Amanita phalloides, or “death cap,” closely resembles edible mushrooms like the straw mushroom. But how does one know which is which?

Gualala resident David Arora can help with that. “He’s the rock star of Northern California mushrooms,” says former Sonoma County Mycological Society president Bill Hanson. Arora’s 1979 book Mushrooms Demystified was penned when Arora was just 22 years old. “Today, it’s still the bible, if you will, for North Coast mushrooms,” says Hanson. A corresponding field guide, All That the Rain Promises and More . . ., is the go-to pocketbook for mushroom hunters who want to quickly identify fungi in the wilderness.

Both books are in the top five best-selling mushroom books on Amazon, and they’re available at local retailers and independent booksellers.