The topic of Brad Cochran's workshops is fungus, but this fungus is healthful and getting more popular all the time.
Mushrooms - a low-calorie, protein-rich food - can be cultivated by anyone, especially after a little advice and startup help from Cochran.
As an extension agent with West Virginia State University, Cochran is offering a series of workshops for those who want to grow their own. On Wednesday, he brings the first of his three-part program to Raleigh County.
He first taught the information in Huntington and said he could offer the mushroom growing seminars in the Charleston area if there is enough interest.
"My first experience with it was in college," Cochran said. "And it evolved from there. Now with the extension agency, we have some urban forestry initiatives and woodlot management things going on. This fits right in with that."
Participants can attend one session or all three. The current workshops are being offered at The School of Harmony in Beaver. From 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Cochran will teach shiitake mushroom production.
A second workshop on chicken of the woods mushrooms will be offered May 29, and a third with instruction for growing oyster mushrooms is scheduled for June 12.
Attendees leave with everything needed to begin cultivating the mushrooms at home.
"The chicken of the woods mushroom is a newer one to cultivation," Cochran explained. "But you can find it in the wild, especially in the eastern United States. It is bright orange in color.
"When you do find it in the wild, it's like finding gold," he said.