Getting Started Safely Foraging For Mushrooms With Aaron and Jill Grenchik

Join Rachel as she interviews Aaron and Jill Grenchik, Aaron and Jill are professional foragers who actually make a living foraging, teaching, and selling at the farmers market and online.

They harvest a lot of wild mushrooms and have gone through the process of becoming certified through Michigan.  They also recently acquired The Institute for Sustainable Foraging.  This was a great interview loaded with information on how to get started safely foraging. 

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Exploring the World of Mycology with Great Lakes Treats


Welcome to the Modern Homesteading Podcast, where host Rachel Jamison interviews Jill and Aaron Grenchik from Great Lakes Treats. This episode delves into the fascinating world of foraging, mycology, and the thriving business of Great Lakes Treats in Northern Michigan.

The Genesis of Great Lakes Treats

Jill and Aaron discuss their journey into the world of mycology. Certified through the state to identify 20 species of wild mushrooms, they have transformed their lifelong passion for nature into a thriving business. Their product range includes wild foraged mushrooms and a medicinal tea line featuring turkey tail, reishi, and chaga mushrooms.

Challenges of Foraging

The pair address the challenges faced during foraging, especially during droughts. They emphasize the importance of understanding local ecosystems and adapting to changing environmental conditions to find mushrooms like morels, chanterelles, and others.

Mushroom Identification and Safety

Safety in mushroom foraging is paramount. Jill and Aaron stress the need for 100% certainty in mushroom identification, cautioning against consuming unidentified or potentially toxic varieties. They discuss tools like the Picture Mushroom app and physical methods like spore printing to aid in identification.

Sustainable Foraging Practices

Sustainability is a key aspect of their foraging practice. They are certified by the Institute of Sustainable Foraging, focusing on sustainable methods to harvest wild leaves and other foraged goods. Aaron shares his careful approach to harvesting chaga mushrooms, ensuring minimal impact on the host trees.

Tools and Tips for Successful Foraging

For efficient foraging, they recommend tools like the Onyx Hunt app for navigation and tracking, paper or mesh bags for mushroom collection to aid in spore dispersal, and a good knife. They also suggest wearing comfortable footwear and carrying water for hydration.

Education and Mushroom Classes

Great Lakes Treats offers educational classes on mushroom identification and foraging. These classes, available through their website, include a three-hour slideshow presentation and guided hikes. They are open to traveling and teaching about mushrooms, provided they can research local species.

Cookbook and Recipes

Jill hints at a future project – a cookbook featuring mushroom-based recipes. This project aims to showcase the culinary versatility of mushrooms, offering unique and tasty ways to incorporate them into everyday meals.

Concluding Thoughts

Jill and Aaron express gratitude for the opportunity to share their knowledge and encourage listeners to reach out with questions. They reiterate the importance of safety, sustainability, and education in the world of mycology.

Final Note

The podcast wraps up with a reminder to embrace the journey of learning and growing, encouraging listeners to “grow where you’re planted,” emphasizing the importance of adapting and thriving in one’s environment.

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