Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Unconventional Mushrooms

Hand-written sign on box in produce section, White conventional mushrooms
Like many a long-time natural food co-op shopper, I became accustomed long ago to seeing the word organic used in contrast to conventional when describing various methods for growing fruits and vegetables.

I don't know who came up with conventional as a one-word descriptor for the chemical-based farming methods that became predominant in the last half of the 20th century, but I'm afraid it's here to stay, for lack of a better term (some possible alternatives... nonorganic? inorganic? You see the difficulty.)

However, I am always slightly bemused by this use of conventional because I know that for the uninitiated, the opposite of conventional is not organic, but rather unconventional.

In celebration and gentle ridicule of the way insiders speak without thinking too much about how their words are understood by outsiders, I bring you this photo gallery of unconventional mushrooms:


Colorful crocheted mushroom house with landscaping

From (that's ky as in Kentucky -- get your mind out of the gutter! And yes, that really is a mushroom in the photo):

Hands holding a 12

The cartoon-like but all-too-real psychedelic mushroom Amanita muscaria (via

White mushroom with bright red cap covered in white spots

As well as this somewhat disturbing children's mushroom tent, clearly based on Amanita muscaria:

Two little girls outside a cartoonish tent resembling Amanita muscaria

A walking character mushroom, not quite ready for Disney World. I can almost hear the theme song... "Do you know the mushroom man, the mushroom man, the mushroom man?"

Walking mushroom in a parade

And, finally, this nirvana photo for morel hunters:

Dozens of morels in a ferny forest setting

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