According to the US Weather Service, July has the highest average monthly rainfall at the Knoxville Airport. It HAS been wet ,and we’re finally above normal for the year. The result has been mushrooms out the whazoo!
I’ve guided several private forays, and the clients found plenty of edibles as well as a great variety of other species. I went to one spot where I usually find a dozen or so Boletus bicolor, and there were hundreds there. The picture shows the limited number we picked due to National Park rules on limited harvest. They were delicious dipped in egg wash, then a crushed pecan/flour coating and fried in clarified butter.
Speaking of eating, I marinated some more Lactarius corrugis (earlier post) using that ratio of 1 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup mild (rice) vinegar. I took it to a pot luck, and it was well received. It’s a good way to go.
In the “things along the way” category, I collect box turtle shells in varying condition during my bushwhacking. I also see at least one live turtle every time out it seems. This week, Ellen and I saw something quite different. Two turtles were hung up. A male (red eyes) had its rear foot captured by the closed carapace of another turtle, sex indeterminate.
Turtle #2 was on its back and mucus was oozing out around turle #1′s foot. Using a knife as a pry tool we sucesfully separated the two and #1 eventually began to crawl off. #2 was most likely dead, Having observed box turtles mating, my best guess is this was a case of disengagement gone awry. Can anybody out there offer a better scenario?
I’ve been wanting a good chanterelle picture, and fortunately Ellen was with me yesterday. I think this one is typical of what we’re been finding around here.
Found a small rotted lobster mushroom Monday in a patch I go to. I think it’s drying out enough in the pine woods that they may be coming up any day. I’ll be checking every 2-3 days.
These are some of today’s harvest. Been picking all week and will have them at my booth at the Knoxville Market Square Farmers Market tomorrow – Sat June 27.
A lot of my spots have not started, but some have. This, I believe, is as much about the DNA and natural variability of the creature as it is about the weather. What I have found have been in the bottom of wet drainages with significant beech and white oak, The ones in this picture were along the banks of the drains in a wide hollow where the drains start to braid. Southerners will know what I mean.
I have found some in drier locations, but they have been spotty and dry. Hopefully, the rain due (??) this weekend will help some of these locations flush. On the other hand, it’s this variability of DNA, weather, site, etc. that makes chanterelle season such a long and productive time. So . . . never write off a site that looks good until the season is over. Keep going back and over time you will have productive patches that , overall, yield chanterelles from mid-June ’til early fall. Love ‘em !!!
Typically, in East Tennessee, chanterelle season is from around July 1st into September, depending on elevation, rainfall and temperatures. I have a small patch within a larger productive area where chanterelles start showing up as “pin head buttons” a little earlier. The one pictured here is in a small clump of moss. I took the picture last Sunday, May 31.
Like many mushrooms , chanterelles have a season, but within that season one will find variability in fruiting. That’s great because it leads to the months-long season we have. Unlike morels, where a particular patch seems to fruit all at once, a chanterelle patch will typically contain a variety of age classes – little ones and big ones. Always revisit a patch.
How fast do chanterelles grow? Today, June 6, I took this photo in the same place. They grow slowly, but, fortunately, also degrade slowly. By next weekend I should be able to pick a few small ones in this area. Actually, last year on June 15, I picked 1/2 pound in this spot. In two weeks, or around the 20th, I should be able to get enough for dinner and then by July 1st the game is on!!
I was excited to see that, at this point, chanterelles are on schedule, because I have several guided forays scheduled in early July, and chefs are ready for mushrooms. I’ll keep you posted here on what is coming up as I find them. Be looking for Lactarius volemus and L. corrugis also. June is a good black trumpet month if you know where to look.