The 37th Annual Santa Cruz Fungus Fair finds the food, fun and fascination in fungi
If I touch it am I going to die? This is the most frequently asked question every year at the Santa Cruz Fungus Fair. Luckily, it turns out the answer is no. Though Santa Cruz is home to two of the world’s deadliest mushrooms—the death cap (Amanita phalloides) and the destroying angel (Amanita ocreata), you would have to actually ingest them to die.
“There are a lot of mushrooms that can make you sick, but not many of them are fatal,” says Phil Carpenter, president of the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz. Still, many species are edible—and tasty, he adds. Though Carpenter does collect edible local mushrooms for his table, he’s driven to search for different species of fungus for another reason. He calls it the treasure-hunt aspect.