Election results 2013

L to R: Todd Kaufmann, Fluff Berger, Richard Jacob, Barbara DeRiso (Scott Pavelle, not present)

We would like to thank Jim Wasik, who is stepping down from the Presidency, and Valerie Baker, who stepped in at short notice for Recording Secretary, for their work this year in running the Club .

At the October 15 monthly meeting of the WPMC, the following Officers were elected for next year:

President – Todd Kaufmann
Vice President – Richard Jacob
Recording Secretary – Scott Pavelle
Corresponding Secretary – Ann (Fluff) Berger
Treasurer – Barb DeRiso

In the picture from left to right: Todd Kaufmann, Fluff Berger, Richard Jacob, Barbara DeRiso
(Scott Pavelle, not present)

Congratulations and Best of Luck to a great 2014.

Photo Contest Results 2013

Our thanks to Rebecca Miller for judging the 2013 WPMC Photo Contest.


This type of image emphasizes the features needed to identify the mushroom, generally including mushrooms that are both standing and knocked over to show the gills, pores, bulb at the base of the stem, and other key features.  Images in this category must be correctly identified by Genus and species.

1st Place   Chlorophyllum rhacodes  ~ Fluff  Berger
2ed Place   Fall Pumpkin Psilocybe,    Leratiomyces squamosus ~ Dick Dougall
3rd Place   Tree Volvariella  ~  Richard Franklin


Images of a beautiful fungus in nature.  None are knocked down to show the underside, and they are identified at least to Genus (such as Amanita) but the species is also given if known.

1st Place   Jack O’Lanterns and Flowers   ~ Dick Dougall
2ed Place   Laccaria amethystina   ~ Cecily Franklin
3rd Place   Morchella esculentoides(?)  ~ Richard Jacob

Judge’s Option

All mushroom photo entries that do not fit into the documentary or pictorial categories belong here. This includes things such as mushroom events, humorous pictures, or pictures of a mushroom dinner or food. Images in this category must be titled but Genus or species need not be given unless desired by the contestant.

1st Place   Earth Star  ~ George Banyas
2ed Place   Tricholoma sulphureum   ~  Martha Wasik
3rd Place   Ryan Tomazin


And for this year we have a special category serendipity

1st Place  Bolete in a beer bottle ~Barb DeRiso found the bottle and  Dick Dougall took the photo, on a club walk in north Park
2ed Place  Morchella esculenta with Toad  ~ John Kirk
3rd Place  Grandpa and Maria  ~ Caroline Miller – What Mushroom Club is all about!


More entries to the photo contest are shown here

November -December 2013 newsletter published

The last newsletter of the year has been sent out and members should have revived a copy by email or post. You can see the first page here, members receive the full newsletter by post or email.  This months issue covers the Lincoff foray,  DNA barcoding report, the photo contest winners, an introduction to the Yahoo groups  discussion group and more.

Medicines or Toxins?

September  2013 meeting presentation by Frank Lotrich, M.D., Ph.D.

Fungi are in their own separate kingdom.  They are not plants.  They are not animals.  And they’ve evolved their own unique set of chemicals, sugars, polysaccharides, proteins, and assorted other chemicals.  Some of these compounds have potential uses and therapeutic benefits.  And some can be detrimental to our health.  Of course, some are both useful and harmful.  This talk will provide a broad overview of various toxins and therapeutic compounds that can be found in fungi.


Dr. Lotrich is associate professor of psychiatry at UPMC, where he is an active psychopharmacology researcher, examining the interacting roles of genetics and inflammation.  He received both his MD and PhD back in Oregon, where he also acquired his fascination with mushrooms.


Frank Lotrich very kindly gave us permission to share the presentation with the general public:

Quartet of Mushroom With Thyme and Crème Fraiche

At last nights meeting Jeff Berkowitz gave a cooking demonstration and tasting to the club. Jeff has kindly agreed to share the recipes. The main recipe uses Crème Fraiche which can be difficult to find, there are a few stores in the Pittsburgh area that do stock it but if you can not find it there is a recipe to make it following the main one. Clarified butter or ghee can be found in the international food section of some Giant eagle stores along with local Indian import food stores and Whole Foods and the East End Co-op. You can find out more about Jeffs cooking at the Culinary Philosopher and the New Life Kitchen.

Quartet of Mushroom With Thyme and Crème Fraiche

  • 4 Tbsp clarified butter (or use extra virgin olive oil if you prefer)
  • 4 Tbsp shallots, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 lb of your favorite mushrooms
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup crème fraiche (substitute coconut milk and a tsp of lemon juice to make this vegan friendly)
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Fresh Thyme
  • Chopped fresh parsley or chives for garnish

Heat a sauté pan, when the pan is hot add the clarified butter. As soon as the butter is in the pan add the shallots. Sauté the shallots for about a minute until the just begin to brown. Add the mushrooms, let them get a good sear before tossing or stirring them in the pan. Season with some salt and pepper. Once the mushrooms begin to release their moisture add the wine. Reduce the wine by about half and then add the crème fraiche. Let that reduce a bit until the sauce coats the mushrooms nicely. Season with fresh thyme and then taste for salt and pepper. Use the mushrooms as an entrée or as an appetizer, they are wonderful as a topping for crustini.

Crème Fraiche

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup plain yogurt with live cultures
  • ¼ cup buttermilk

Combine all of the ingredients in a heavy bottom sauce pan and warm over low heat stirring constantly until the temperature is between 80°and 85°F. Remove from the heat and put into a sterile jar. Allow this to sit at room temperature for 24 hours. At which point the cream should be thickened and will thickened more when it is refrigerated. Keep this in the refrigerator for up to a week. The crème fraiche can be eaten as is and the nice thing is that it can be boiled just like heavy cream but has much more flavor.

Updated website is now live!

It has been a long time in coming but the new website is now live. The updated site features new events listings, a blog, an amazon store and many other features. There is still a little more work to do and if you find any errors or broken links please email the webmaster. This slide show illustrates some of the new features and layout of the site. Have fun exploring! Read More

Chanterelle preservation methods

This year is shaping up to be an amazing year for Chanterelles and it is easy to pick more than you can eat in a day or two. What to do with them all? Scott Pavelle was distributing a hand out on Chanterelle preservation methods at July’s meeting. This been submitted to the clubs newsletter but you probably need the information now. The methods are available on the web at Kate Pavelle’s blog.

New study to identify and catalog Amanita genus mushrooms of Western Pennsylvania

The genus Amanita contains many well-known species, such as Amanita bisporigera the “destroying angel”. Some amanitas are responsible for the majority of serious mushroom poisonings and numerous deaths; on the other hand, a number of amanitas are edible market commodities in some countries. The Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club (WPMC) and Amanita expert Dr Rodham E. Tulloss from New Jersey have initiated a study to document as many members of the Amanita genus growing in Western Pennsylvania as possible. Read More

Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club collaborates with Duke University in a mushroom DNA barcoding push

DNA barcoding is the newest analytical method used to characterize and identify fungi. Traditional identification is based on the physical characteristics of fruiting bodies, including microscopic details. DNA barcoding adds identification at the genetic level. The Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club  began to use DNA barcoding earlier this year using a commercial company to sequence DNA from several mushroom species. We have recently started a collaboration with Professor Rytas Vilgalys of Duke University to expand our use of DNA barcoding to study mushroom diversity.  Collaboration with the Vilgalys lab (who will perform PCR amplification and DNA sequencing) will allow the club to double the number of samples analyzed per year. Read More

The Thirteenth Annual Gary Lincoff Mid-Atlantic Mushroom Foray

8am to 7pm, Saturday, Sept. 21th, 2013


Guided morning walks and self-guided afternoon mushroom walks; Mushroom Walks will be conducted in North Park and in other woodlands nearby Lectures: guest speakers:  Gary Lincoff, Frank Lotrich (WPMC) & John Wheeler (Berkshire Mushroom Club); cooking demonstration  by Jeff Berkowitz; Mushroom Feast; merchandise sales and silent auction.

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