"I need to wash mushrooms and potatoes."
Translation:Мне надо помыть грибы и картошку.
this is actually not that easy to dismiss; weird things behave as animate nouns like chess pieces, dead people and national folk dances. anyway I found the answer myself, and it appears that it wasn't something I misremembered hearing. Mushrooms can behave as animate nouns in Russian, but it is kind of colloquial, and used by people who are more into mushroom picking (or perhaps more like fungi...). in Polish apparently they are strictly animate. so that's kind of cool!
yes, I don't mean that! here I found something; http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/can-a-neutral-word-be-inanimate.2307114/#post-11595332 where he says "Я подосиновика нашел" / "белого срезал" / "челыша нашел". on wikipedia it said "Russian has a somewhat complex hierarchy of animacy in which syntactically animate nouns may include both animate and inanimate objects (like mushrooms and dances)," which was sourced back to this page that is mostly on Polish animacy: http://www.researchgate.net/publication/33517670_It's_alive!_grammatical_animacy_in_Russian_Polish_and_Czech and then this old sort of poem! http://www.levin.rinet.ru/ABOUT/zubova5.html. however, other sources still confirm that they are indeed inanimate in Russian! just that the comment didn't come 'falling from the sky' :-)
A normal Russian speaker, unfamiliar with the topic, would consider it a mistake.
However, since in fairy tales even stones can speak, Russian definitely does support such usage as a means of personifying an object. It is just that if you talk like that about mushrooms, computers or wardrobes in a more common environment, a listener is unlikely to fully comprehend what's your exact point.
Consider wide usage of "he" and "she" towards talking, thinking animals in English tales.