Liz Nail has a confession: When she went to college, she sorta, kinda, didn’t like mushrooms. But one night at a potluck dinner with friends, she saw her peers eating chanterelles and thought maybe they were worth trying again. That bite altered her life’s trajectory. “I realized I totally loved mushrooms,” she laughs. “I was just hanging onto a five-year-old mentality.”
Fast-forward 18 years and now Nail and her husband, Michael, bring a wide range of gourmet mushrooms to tables across the Front Range through their seasonal farm, Mile High Fungi. They offer both cultivated varieties like shitake, oyster, king trumpet, and pioppini, as well as wild-foraged options like morel, porcini, and lobster. “Looking back, it’s a healthy reminder to keep an open mind because you never know where trying something new might take you,” Nail says.
Nail’s life-changing chomp happened at Evergreen State College, where she met Michael her freshman year. Both were “modern-day, farm, hippie nerds” studying agriculture in Olympia, Washington, an environment ripe for mushroom hunting. After overcoming her mycology-related biases, Nail began spending weekends foraging for fungi. She and Michael even tried their hand at growing oyster mushrooms in the woodchip-littered paths behind the house they rented with some other friends. “You’d get these beautiful fleshes of oyster mushrooms pretty easily,” Nail remembers. They weren’t commercial grade, but they were “great for the backyard gardener.”
Read the complete article at 5280 Denver's Mile High Magazine.