Before Winamac resident Martin “Torg” Torgerson went on to have a teaching career in Logansport, Caston and Winamac and at Indiana University-Kokomo, he collected his first batch of mushrooms in the 1950s while in his early teens, he recalled fondly.
“I just really enjoy the great outdoors,” he said. “It’s one way to enjoy the woods and the fields and Mother Nature at its fullest. That’s really the big appeal. Plus, searching for something that is somewhat elusive and somewhat hard to find is pretty challenging and I enjoy a challenge.”
As he got older, he began taking the hobby more seriously, embarking on hunts more often and travelling farther to do it. Along with Indiana, he has hunted woods and parks in Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan, even going alone when his friends are unable to accompany him. Sometimes returning with bounties of 50 pounds, he would use the mushrooms for cooking and give them out to family and friends.
Hunts have decreased now that he’s 75, he said, and so has the amount of mushrooms he’s been able to find because of what he deduces may be rising demand for mushrooms and increased participation in the hobby.
“I still have fun hunting mushrooms whether I find many or not,” he said.
He called the hobby a good complement to his exercise routine of jogging, running and walking.
“It helps promote good health and plus it gets me in condition to still hunt mushrooms,” he said. “I think it’s helped my health throughout these many years.”
Martin said he was “surprised and impressed” to be a part of the film.
“I’m pleased too because now I have a permanent record of a mushroom hunt,” he said. “I feel pretty much honored and privileged to have a film about me and my buddies hunting mushrooms. I’ll be able to watch it any time I want, see my friends and think about old positive memories.”