Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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Edible: The World Of Mushroom Hunting Hits The Big Screen

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Rachel Wharton from Edible Manhattan Magazine went to an undisclosed location north of Manhattan to trail the maker of a new film on hunting mushrooms.

Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin co-directed a brand new movie called "Now, Forager" about the relationship between a culinary couple trying to make a living hunting for mushrooms and other wild foods and selling them to New York City restaurants.

"It's kind of about the struggles of living a hand-to-mouth existence, you know, working with food," says Cortlund.

While it's true to life, the movie is a work of fiction, except for one detail. Cortlund, who also plays the role of the leading man, is a serious mushroom hunter.

"I'm a member of the New York Mycological Society, and fall mushroom season is a big time of year for us," says Cortlund. "We like to really get out into the woods and find not just mushrooms but the weird small things that only grow under leaves. And we have Monday night ID sessions where we'll take a look at the spores under a microscope or we'll really break down the different taxonomies on a specific mushroom so we can identify it."

This year, mushroom season coincides with the Manhattan premiere of his movie, which is showing at the IFC Center until October 9. A few local restaurants will even be cooking with local species Cortlund plucked himself. But rest assured, it's a one-time thing.

While Cortlund seriously recommends taking a walk with his Mycological Society buddies, he wouldn't want to do it for a living.

"I only really ever hunt mushrooms for my own table. It's not something, that I, I don't really want that kind of a difficult miserable lifestyle of going and having to rely on nature and the weather and the unpredictability of all that," says Cortlund.

Thanks to Cortlund, the fungus is among us!

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