It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s Swampy Appleseed. This name might not strike everyone as a super hero, however, mushroom lovers know Swampy Appleseed is their super hero! Ancil Jacques, his real name, is a self proclaimed “Mushroom Nerd,” a title I would like to add to my resume.
Born and raised in “middle of nowhere” Georgia, Ancil was raised being outside constantly. His parents were science teaches and instilled the importance of science and nature in him. Neither of his parents were “mushroom nerds,” Ancil found this interest on his own and dove into learning more. As an adult, he wanted to “teach the world to read,” and gained an English degree, however, while applying for graduate schools he “accidentally” found a large haul of Pecan Truffles, a sought after, local truffle variety. After speaking to a couple of restaurants and selling at Forsyth Farmers Market, he realized the interest and potential that changed his path. Swampy Appleseed was born.
His mushroom farm has grown from local foraging to a 2 shipping container farm which produces about 300 pounds of delicious fungus a week! Even with the farm keeping him very busy, he still finds time to forage about 20 hours a week, because he loves it.
If you think you don’t like mushrooms, Ancil suggests trying many different varieties. You wouldn’t decide you don’t like meat, just from trying chicken. Mushrooms have a wide variety of textures and tastes. He suggests trying Lion’s Mane or King Trumpet mushrooms if you aren’t a fan of the textures of more common mushrooms. Or if taste is the issue, try Chicken of the Woods, a variety that actually tastes like chicken and is one of the most popular mushrooms.
If you are forager-curious, you’re in luck. Swampy Appleseed is planning to restart mushroom hunting classes. You take a relaxing walk through the woods, learn about all things mushrooms and are rewarded for your efforts by trying a few mushrooms direct from the trail. If foraging alone is your style, Ancil suggests taking lots of pictures, research a lot on the internet, buy a local field guide and even offered his expertise by emailing him directly to ask if your fungi is edible.
Learn about other local farmers & where your food comes from at ScoutSavannah.com