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Foraging For Mushrooms Through Our Buy Nothing Group

What is the strangest thing you have shared in a Buy Nothing group? Here’s my little story about how our unwanted mushrooms sparked a new passion for a neighbor.

Where I live, foraging for food is a bit of a subculture trend. Our area is well-known for its mushrooms and there are many wooded areas, both of which lead to an environment ripe for foraging.

Neighbors Spying on our Trees

Last fall, we noticed some large mushrooms growing on a dying tree in our front yard. At one point, a group who had apparently driven past our house on several occasions stopped and started admiring the mushrooms.

I’ll be honest, it was a little weird. They neither asked to explore our front yard nor introduced themselves, even while my husband was out front playing baseball with our boys.

My husband walked over and inquired about their visit, at which point they informed him that the mushrooms on our tree were chicken of the woods mushroom.

Our Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms

Little did we know, we had a plethora of delicacy mushrooms growing on a dead tree on our property. He told us that chicken of the woods mushrooms are kind of a big deal and a popular score for mushroom foragers.

My husband and I know next to nothing about foraging for food, and I really don’t like mushrooms. The fungus growing on the dead tree in our front yard was of little interest to us. Clearly, however, this trio had premeditated plans to take home the fungus growing on our tree, because they arrived with knives and a tray on which to collect the mushrooms.

We allowed the group to take some of the mushrooms, but they didn’t take all of the mushrooms off of the tree. At that point, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try a few of these culinary delights.

One of the guys passed along his phone number so we could call him back if he could return for the rest of the mushrooms. I wasn’t too thrilled that they planned to forage on our property without asking, so I chose to offer them up to others instead.

Sharing Our Mushrooms With Neighbors Via Buy Nothing Group

Once I understood the fancy fungus in my possession, I thought others might be interested in the mushrooms. I offered them up to neighbors in our local Buy Nothing group. Within a matter of hours, several excited members expressed their interest in stopping by for a taste of some chicken of the woods. 

Two members of my Buy Nothing group stopped by over the next couple of days and took home large chunks of this delicacy. One of them was even a chef at a local restaurant. He brought the chicken of the woods mushrooms to his restaurant and tried several different recipes with it. Both of the people who took some of these mushrooms were so thrilled about something I thought was kind of gross. 

Sharing Abundance We Don’t Need

Honestly, one of the best things about Buying Nothing groups is sharing our abundance. Something I no longer need or have no interest in can serve someone else so well. I was ecstatic to bring so much joy to others with something that did nothing for me.

Inspiring New Passions For Neighbors

A year later, our chicken of the woods mushrooms returned. They tend to pop up every year around mid-October in our area. The chef from the Buy Nothing group who harvested some of last year’s mushrooms also popped up in messages again. He wrote the following message to me:

I hope this hour isn’t too late to message. I am cleaning old messages and found this one. I wanted to thank you again. This [last year’s mushroom harvest] was my first “wild harvest” so to speak and since then I have started to study mycology and it’s become a hobby of mine. I’ve found many different choice edible and delicious mushrooms in the last year now. I actually found about 35lbs of Chicken of the woods today. Many thanks for helping me find a new passion.

Buy Nothing Neighbor

How cool is that?! What a fun and kind message to receive and an amazing benefit of something as simple as a Buy Nothing group. Connecting with our neighbors and bringing the community together has far more benefits than we can ever imagine.

Sharing Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms This Year

Funny enough, I thought about reaching out to him not long before he messaged me to see if he wanted to return for this year’s mushrooms. I was planning to harvest a few for ourselves (mostly my husband), and I even shared a post on our Buy Nothing group again this year to offer some of them to neighbors. I thought about making one of these Chicken of the Woods mushroom recipes and braving new culinary territory.

Unfortunately, someone took every last mushroom off the tree without permission just a few hours after they popped up. I was pretty upset that someone felt entitled to take food from my yard. It’s a wild fungus, but I also think it’s pretty bold to assume they can take that without asking. Honestly, if they had knocked on my door and asked to have them, I probably would have said yes.

I had time to grab some photos before they stole the mushrooms. I planned to grab a knife to cut some of them off the next day. But I’ll have to wait until next year, as they will most certainly return.

Sharing About Buy Nothing Groups

I tell so many people I know about Buy Nothing groups. People probably laugh about the level of passion behind my proposal that they join their local Buy Nothing group or create one themselves. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised by just how useful our Buy Nothing group has been.

Stories like this one of sharing and connecting and inspiring others through simple gifts of abundance have piled up since I joined my Buy Nothing group. You better believe I use each of them as fodder to encourage others to reduce waste, save money, and connect with their neighbors through Buy Nothing groups.

Not only do we find joy in gifting things to others, but we’ve picked up or borrowed plenty of useful things for ourselves as well. Here are a few of my favorite Buy Nothing gifts we’ve given and received.

As I say to everyone else, go join or start your own Buy Nothing group. If you have any questions, be sure to check out several other posts I’ve shared about Buy Nothing groups to help you figure out how to make the most of them.

Do you participate in your local Buy Nothing group? Or do you have one? If so, what’s the most interesting thing you’ve given or received?

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