Martin Martini wants you to look around, not ahead.
Martin’s an expert fungi forager and he teaches the gospel of the mush. He’s cultivated a deep fascination and reverence for mushrooms and the mystery that shrouds them, now guiding others in the fine (and sometimes dangerous) art of mushroom foraging. He shares his wellspring of knowledge around the country on Mushroom Meander-guided fungi treasure hunts for the mycelium-curious. When the seeker finds a mushroom, like a chanterelle, it irrevocably connects you to the country, Martin believes.
You hold these treasured spots in your bones. The feeling. The weather. The trees. The mushroom and the memory become one. Humans as nature—as it should be.
Where do you feel most at home?
I feel most at home when I am home. I have quite a few homes. Whether that be with my sons, my woman or my duck.
Can you recall the moments that sparked your fascination with mushrooms?
I thought that mushroom hunting would be the most romantic thing you could do with someone. I was wrong. Mushrooms ask a lot of questions of you. If you think a nice stroll followed by a picnic and a lie down is on the table, that’s not how it works. I found a different kind of romance than I expected.
What are you doing when you feel most alive?
Swimming seems to shake me out of the mushroom world, which is very important to me.
What is inspiring your world right now?
I am inspired by the unknown. Every time I enter the forest I am seeing new things, fungi I have never met before.
What’s your most treasured possession?
A spinning top.
Do mushrooms play a role in your life that is both medicinal and functional?
Looking for, finding and eating the mush is the medicine.
Do you have any favourite mycology books that you would recommend for anyone exploring this area?
If you ever see a copy of FUNGI of Southern Australia by Bougher & Syme grab it. It's out of print and beautiful. Otherwise, a field guide to Australian Fungi by the late Bruce Fuhrer is a great place to start.
Where are your favourite places in Australia to meander and forage?
The very top of Australia and the very bottom. The most interesting mushroom finds turn up under your nose though.
Is there a unicorn mushroom you are yet to find in your meanderings that you are forever on the hunt for?
Will always be waiting for Boletus austroedulis; the grandfather of all Porcini.
You roll out of bed, what’s next? Tell us about your daily rituals.
I find time to drink tea every now and then,I like old Chinese Oolong teas from the Guangdong province, but I am not one toslow down too often. My day tends to be me reacting to never ending stimuli. I solo parent two sons, and when I am not with them, I am in the forest. A waterfall stops me, a spider, a land mullet will always slow me down, a mushroom, ah my girl-maybe she is my ritual... hard to say.
How would you describe your style?
I don't buy clothes. I steal them off my girlfriend so I guess my wardrobe is made up of her clothes. But they kind of tare and break and rip so then I mend them and keep them going. I hand mend my clothes to keep them alive most days. Like the Japanese Boro technique. I also like wearing tea cosies on my head in the winter.
What are you listening to right now?
On the turn table is Hans Zimmer, Brian Wilson, Abel Selaocoe, Billie Holiday & Hue Blanes.
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