If you want to find wild mushrooms and eat them yourself, fine. But if you want to sell them, state and federal law requires a certification. But until now, Michigan didn’t offer a way to become certified.
“If you talk to the folks up north, they never had a problem, nobody really bothered with it until a couple of years ago,” said Chris Wright. He helped design the curriculum and the new state test to get that mushroom expert designation.
He says they had to import mushrooms from Oregon for the National Morel Mushroom Festival last year.
“Even though we had plenty of morels, we didn’t have anyone to certify them. So those restaurants couldn’t serve them,” he said.
The state is offering certification workshops in Lansing, Traverse City and Marquette.
Wright says the test will focus on 20 of the most popular mushrooms people can find in Michigan, including morels and chanterelles. He says people who want to get certified should study the curriculum available online before going to the workshops and taking the test.
“I mean if you mix up an edible mushroom with a poisonous mushroom there are very serious consequences. So we’re making sure people are up to snuff in their abilities to identify mushrooms,” he said.
There’s a few chances in April to get certified, just in time to collect morel mushrooms, one of the most popular species to eat.