Chanterelles Coming

chant3Typically, 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 grchant1ow 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.

 

Big Foot Sighted

BigfootThe 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 !!

As Good As It Gets – 2015 Morels

stuufed afterNot so much the number of morels, but the “Company and Cooking” made this season special.

 

Here’s a link to a video made by Amy, the Knoxville News-Sentinel photographer who accompyoutubeanied Steve, Rich and I on a hunt last Thursday. The print version, by
Morgan Simmons, is subscriber only on the Knoxnews.com website.

 

With all the rain we had, and a cold winter, I expected it to be a bumper crop; however, it turned out to be mediocre for black morels based on the experience of myself and a number of other people. Yellow morels started out slow and then picked up. Overall, it seemed to be a good year in places. You just had to be there. As Ellen, the psychotherapist says, “Truth telling has to be with right timing and in the right place.” And that’s no lie!

spring1The signs of spring were confusing at best. We would be in places where the tree and ground cover suggested the timing was right, but no morels. Some traditional spots yielded good results, but others other drew a blank. Go figure. Once again, the season was summed up by my friend Rich, “Morel hunting teaches me more about patience, hope and humility than church does.”

RAIN YELLOWSAfter our walk in the rain, I got a few yellows over the weekend, and then joined Steve and Rich on Tues at another place. Total was 230, mostly yellows. For whatever reason, allergies, fatigue or you name, it my portion was only 40. Of course, I am always the low man when hunting with this pair of morel hounds. I have to remember to be a closer shadow :-) Again, lessons in humility.

spring2I’ve said before, never leave a ‘shroom behind. Well, this year I learned that again. My friend Joe has a spot where they come up gray and then turn to yellow. When the first ones emerged, we said, “Let’s measure their growth.” We left my business card next to one for scale and took a day 2 picture and a day 3 picture. On day 4, the morels had been cut (by someone who is known to us). I haven’t and won’t go back there. For me, morel huntign is more than bagging as much as you can. It’s about sharing the excitement of hunting, a ritual of renewal in the Spring, and renewing friendships. I leave the rest to the “baggers”.

I’m about done for the year, and ready for getting back on my bike. I’ve got  2 1/2 months to get in shape for the bicycle road race event in the Tennessee Senior Olympics. I did lose about 5 lbs this morel season – lots of ridges climbed. After that, June 19, it will be back in the woods or chanterelles !!