Foraged Seller Spotlight:
Oregon Coast Mushrooms & Wild Foods
Oregon Coast Mushrooms owner, Nicole Sharp, is a forager and entrepreneur with the love of the wild. She has a team of veteran pickers who only pick the Oregon Coast’s best product. With years of experience, drive, and devotion, Nicole enjoys bringing only the best of the wild to your menu or table. Everywhere Nicole and her team go, not only do they pick mushrooms, but they also clean the forest of any plastics, metal, and glass they may run across. They are helping the forests to stay clean and never picking too much.
How did it all start?
I got into picking back in 2001 when I met David Smith, “Mushroom Dave”, who was an icon around our parts. Dave was a retired logger and knew the forest like no other person I’ve ever met. He taught me how the forest actually is, what it can do for you, and how to treat it with respect in return. It is heavily involved with Native American beliefs as they are very protective of the forests and Nature. He is why I pick up garbage that other hunters and tourists leave behind.
I foraged with Dave for three years straight – almost every day. Up until the day he lost his life over a mushroom patch.
No other person I’ve ever met in my entire life has made more impact in my life than David. Every time I enter the woods I give thanks to David. When I can’t find the mushrooms I will sit and ask Dave for his guidance and there’s a mushroom right next to me. It was scary at first but now it has changed my life.
“Take care of the forests and they will take care of you” Dave always said.
Since Dave’s death I’ve been shot at and had a bullet graze my head even in the same patch that Dave was shot over. I now have inherited if you would the best patches on the Oregon coast and it’s war for them almost. I carry a gun every time entering the forests not for the animals, but for the humans.
Dave always was very respectful to the forests which I now preach to all the pickers I teach and show how to properly harvest wild foods.
What do you enjoy most about foraging?
What I enjoy the best about picking is how I’m alone in the woods – just me and Mother Nature. She can be brutal most of the time but it’s well worth it as she gives me the ability to support and feed my family without all of the GMO or processed foods.
Dave always told me that when he first bends down to pick the first mushroom of the day he would picture himself as an Indian squaw with Indian warriors guarding alongside. So I do the same. It’s a way of giving thanks to the food that naturally grows in the forests.
To ensure that nobody else gets mushrooms out of my patches, Dave taught me the non-violent way:
When people come into your patch, and there’s always evidence of them coming in unfortunately, I simply silently listen to where they’re at. Because they have no respect for the forests, they make lots of noise and I just pick everything right in front of them. It always kind of makes me laugh when I hear them say “Let’s go somewhere else, there are no mushrooms here!”.
What is your favorite thing to pick?
Chanterelles are my favorite to pick because I’m the best at it and they are so plentiful around here.