Yep, after many weeks it has rained, and rained, and rained, for at least 7 days. Mushrooms are everywhere. July 4th, I skipped the Saturday Market and joined he Cumberland Mycological Society for their foray at the Big South Fork National Recreation Area. Jay Justice was coming to serve as foray mycologist, and I hadn”t seen him in a while, so I drove the 4 hours round trip. What surprised me was the variety of boletes this early in the year. Jay counted at least six different genera at one point – multiple species in some. This picture is a collection of what is probably B. sensibilis, with just enough oddness to need a confirmation.
Rains bring out the oysters. The tree on the left gave up a little over two pounds on Friday. The log on the right yielded 17 pounds after culling out some slightly mature individuals. With this many, you can high-grade your harvest (there were more behind me when I took the picture). I like those nice medium size ones, and we have enjoyed several dishes of oysters and onions, with a dash of soy sauce and Worcestershire, grilled on the Big Green Egg. Served over a steak or mixed with bite size pieces of left over steak.
What to do with the Lactarius coming up? In a day or so, I’ll post Theresa Rey Ousler’s marinated Lactarius recipe, Pretty good.
Chanterelles are hitting their stride, and are starting to peek up out of the wet hollows onto higher ground. I’ve been able to bring home around 30 pounds so far, so it’s just where you are looking. If a place looks right, based on your experience, look closely for little pinheads that say “come back later”. A good place to look for them is in patches of moss, because it holds moisture so well, and the tiny yellow/orange pinheads stand out. Especially around the base of a tree or along a trail where there is exposure. Here’s the picture from a few weeks ago showing what I mean.
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.
The appearance of Morchella crassipes, the “Big Foot Morel” usually comes at the end of the season here in East Tennessee. Here is a picture (click it to enlarge) a friend of mine sent me of his cousin with a Big Foot found in NE Tennessee. Yesterday Steve, Rich and I headed back to a spot and got another 130 small yellows. My poor 27 wouldn’t even serve as the stuffing for this wonder.
Just thought I would share, because, as I quoted Rich in my last post, morel hunting is about hope, along with patience and humility. This one gives me hope !!