2017 Wild Mushroom Courses
Please note the first FAQ question for changes to this course for 2017.
This will be our third year offering wild mushroom courses. These courses provide a way for individuals, chefs, restaurant owners, and others to get the training necessary to correctly identify the most common species of edible mushrooms in the State of Indiana. Residents of Indiana did not have a way to comply with the state law requiring all mushrooms that are sold to be "individually inspected by a mushroom identification expert." We have worked with the Indiana State Department of Health and Purdue Extension in order to get the ability to offer certifications that will be accepted by the State of Indiana. For a typical course, only about half of the participants have an interest in selling mushrooms. The other half take the course purely for educational purposes.
2017 courses will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana. The wild mushroom course is typically 5-6 hours long.
Registration for the morel course includes a 2017 membership for the Hoosier Mushroom Society.
What changes are there for 2017?
The primary change is that an individual will need to submit a reference letter, from an additional qualified party, in order to be certified for wild mushrooms other than morels. This second reference needs to verify that you can identify the species described in the course. Two references will be required in order for the certification to be considered complete. This certification course counts as one reference. A form from the ISDH will be given out at the course that must be filled out and submitted, with the second reference, in order for the ISDH to verify your certification. You may still take this course even if you do not have a second reference. Individuals who took this course in previous years will be grandfathered into this new requirement.
Acceptable references include one of the following:
1.) A letter in recognition of long term practical or work; experience detailing knowledge and familiarity with wild mushrooms for review and consideration
2.) A written recommendation from someone who is a mycologist, or who has extensive study in the field of fungi identification, usually a PhD or masters level, or the applicant may provide similar proof of education and experience to the ISDH for review and consideration
3.) A written recommendation from an individual who has received a certification from a national mushroom organization, such as the North American Mycological Society
4.) Proof of attendance and successful completion of an equivalent wild mushroom identification course provided by a state regulatory program or accrediting body.
What types of courses will be held?
There are two different courses being offered - morels and wild edible mushrooms. The morel course will cover all the species of morel mushrooms and include a food handling component. The second course will cover additional wild mushrooms that can be certified in the state, including:
Oysters – Pleurotus ostreatus & P. pulmonarius
Chicken of the Woods – Laetiporus sulphureus & L. cincinnatus (with caution)
Hen of the Woods – Maitake – Grifola frondosa
Chanterelles – Cantharellus lateritius, C. cibarius group (No others)
Lion’s Mane – Hericium erinaceus, H. coralloides, H. americanus
Black Trumpets – Craterellus cornucopiodes
Puffballs – Calvatia gigantea, Lycoperdon pyriforme, etc.
Where will these courses be held?
The wild mushroom certification courses will be held in Indianapolis, IN. If there is a significant interest, we will offer more classes in other locations around the state. If you sign up for a course at one of our initial locations and we create a new course closer to your home, you will be able to switch to the new location. The initial locations and dates will be:
June 24, 2017 - Indianapolis, IN - University of Indianapolis - Register
Is registration limited?
Yes, each course will be limited to 30 participants. Payment will be required at the time of registration in order to reserve your spot. We will only allow on-site registrations if there are spaces available. We will not offer refunds for this course, but we will offer the opportunity for individuals to adjust the date of the course they attend.
How much will these certification courses cost?
The Morel Mushroom Certification course will be $75. The Wild Mushroom Certification course will be $125.
Why should I get certified?
One of the reasons wild mushrooms are rarely foraged and sold commercially around the state is a lack of confidence in the system. Many buyers (restaurants and groceries) do not have the ability to properly assess whether the mushrooms someone brings in was identified correctly. A certification program for Indiana will allow a trusted marketplace for mushrooms to develop in Indiana.
Becoming certified will allow you to legally sell wild mushrooms within the state of Indiana, certifying them yourself, without having to take them to another mushroom identification expert.
Are there any experience requirements for attending the course?
Our courses are designed to allow people from all experience levels to become certified. There are no prior experiential requirements. The course will cover all of the necessary components for any individual to become comfortable with the specific mushrooms the course is for.
You must attend the morel certification course before you can become certified for any other mushrooms. The morel course includes a component on food handling that will be required before you can be certified on any of the other species. A food handling certification is an acceptable alternative to the morel course.
What should I expect from the course?
Each course will cover all of the aspects that are necessary for proper identification for the specific mushrooms the course is about. Each participant will receive a study guide that contains all of the slides, as well as additional information on the topics being presented.
There will be a test at the end of the course to test your knowledge on the topic. There will be the opportunity to retest as needed.
At the end of the course you will receive a wallet card stating that you are a certified expert and what mushrooms you are certified for. Your name will optionally be put into a publicly accessible database of individuals who are certified to sell wild mushrooms in the state.
Who is the certification from?
The certification of this course is from the Hoosier Mushroom Society. The Indiana State Department of Health and county health departments will honor this certification as a basis for fulfilling the requirement of mushrooms needing to be certified by a "mushroom identification expert" before they can be sold.
Does this course allow me to become an expert on all mushrooms?
No. Indiana has probably 2000-3000 different species of mushrooms. You will not be able to take this course and be able to identify every mushroom in the woods. This course has a very specific list of species that it is focused on. These include the best edible mushrooms, with the most characters to allow for an accurate identification. These species represent the list that have been approved for sale in the State of Indiana and that the Hoosier Mushroom Society is willing to certify people for. You will only be certified for the species listed, not all wild mushrooms.
This course offers the base amount of knowledge that is necessary to correctly identify a very limited number of species.
How long will the certification be valid for?
This certification will be good for 3 years. There will be a discounted course fee for people looking to become recertified after this time period.
Are there age restrictions on the course?
Yes, individuals must be 16 years or older to attend.
I live outside of Indiana. Can I register for this course?
Yes, this program is open to individuals from outside of the state. As we are not familiar with all regulations in surrounding states, you need to speak with your state health department to ensure they will honor certifications from outside of your home state.
I am not interested in selling mushrooms. Can I attend solely for educational purposes?
Yes, and it is very much encouraged. One of the reasons we put this course together is to increase the overall level of education about mushrooms in the State of Indiana.
I have additional questions. Who should I contact?
Please contact Steve Russell of the Hoosier Mushroom Society by email at steve@hoosiermushrooms or by phone at 765-532-4227 after 5pm.