Wild mushroom foraging/picking in the Northern Bay Area?
I'm looking to do some wild mushroom picking this fall and am open to suggestions/ideas. I have no idea what I'm doing, so I'm willing to pay for a class or guided tour. Does anyone have any suggestions on places that offer something like this? I'm open to locations, but thinking Russian River area or anywhere within a few hour drive from SF.
I can't recommend the local mycological society forays enough. Low-key, informative mushroom hunts with experts who can help you learn how to tell where the mushrooms might be sprouting based on recent weather, which trees the mushrooms like, and how to identify them. In addition to the San Francisco group, I think there's a Sonoma or Santa Rosa mycological society.
Once you get your feet wet with a few forays, know how to use an identification guide, and are comfortable collecting a few types of edibles, then you start going on weekend hikes searching out hidden spots where the mushrooms come up by the dozens--you have to do that part on your own, as most mushroom hunters won't give up their secret places ;-)
Last, the annual fungus fair is coming up at the Oakland history museum. There will be a huge selection of various local fungi, from edibles to accutely toxic. I think when I went, there were at least 100 deadly amanitas (death caps), in all stages of growth, which was a useful education on why I will probably never forage for white mushrooms.
You are joking if you actually think anybody is going to give up their spots.. there are literally murders over this..and if you wander into the wrong area beware.. People forage secret spots and then sell them air freight to Japan for hundreds of dollars a pound.. so.. I tried the same thing you are and was threatened.