Ontario mushroom picker finds giant puffball in woods
An 84-year-old mushroom picker from Ontario has become a bit of a social-media sensation after finding a giant puffball in the woods.
Don Smith was walking his daughter's dog on his 100-acre property in North Dorchester, Ont., near Woodstock, when something caught his eye.
"I was walking my daughter's dog, along the side my woods back there, and I saw something white in the woods," the retiree recalled, speaking to CBC Windsor. "I walked in the woods to see what it was. I never seen a puffball that big in my life before."
Smith picked the mushroom from the ground and brought it home. It weighs seven kilograms, or 15.4 pounds, and has a diameter of 50 cm, or 20 inches.
"I thought it was kind of special," Smith said.
So did his granddaughter, Kaylie Ngo, who posted a photo of Smith and his puffball to Facebook, where it was shared 2,600 times overnight.
"My 84-year-old Grandpa from Mossley, Ontario wants 'the Internet' to see this," Ngo posted late Sunday. "He is extremely proud of this find."
Smith said, "as a rule," he looks for puffballs every summer.
"I look for them once in a while because I know a few people who like them," he said. "I don't like them myself, but I give them to my friends.
"I've tried them a time or two myself, but I don't care for the taste of them. It's kind of a woody taste. They say fry them in butter."
Smith gave his giant puffball to a friend.
"It's too big for one person," Smith said. "I imagine he'll have to have a few friends in to help him eat it. It's a fair size."
It's not the first giant puffball to be found in southwestern Ontario. According to a 2011 report from the London Free Press, someone picked an 8-kg (18-pound) puffball that was 1.5 metres, or 59 inches, in circumference.
According to that report, the Guinness Book of Records stated at that time that the largest recorded puffball was 1.7 metres, or 66.5 inches around and was found in Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire, U.K., in October 2010.
Guinness didn't immediately respond to an email from CBC on Tuesday.