NOTE: This week’s finds are at the end of the post, so read on . . . .
Yep, it has been a rainy week indeed. With Joaquin coming up from the Bahamas and a stagnant Low over South Florida we’ve had plenty here in the Valley, and my friends on the other side of the mountains (Asheville) have had even more. For me, it began Thursday evening at the NAMA (North American Mycological Association)
annual foray at Black Mountain, NC and continued until I got home on Sunday. Then it began here, and it did not quit until last night (Sat). Ten days is enough!!! For the upside, however,, read on . . . . .NAMA was cool. Lots of collections (almost 400 species) and excellent lectures/talks. The session on mycophagy was outstanding. A lot of people put in many hours and much effort to put on a gastronomical feast for the attendees. That was Good Eats indeed – eat your heart out Alton Brown. Wow!
Panellus stipticus – Foxfire
I co-led a foray on Saturday. We had 40 signed up, but only three braved the rain and the thought of an all day experience in it. In spite of the low turnout, some cool species were found. Those three foragers were some serious mushroomers.
The rains here began to slack up Friday and over the weekend I found 2 Hen of the Woods (6 lbs total), three Chicken of the Woods (17 lbs total) two small Hericium and a lonely Lobster. Surprisingly, no giant puffballs yet, but the Meadow Mushrooms are showing. Tomorrow, I’m taking two clients to the mountains on a private foray. My guess, and hope, is that we will see a variety including T. caligata and Rozites caperata – the Gypsy. In my opinion, this time of year sees a reduction in variety of edibles but good quantities of what you do find. Maybe, because many are saprophytes.
Get to the woods !!!
Last Thursday, Sept 10, I went over to the Brevard, NC area to scout the trails where my “cousin in-law” Ken and I are going to lead an all day foray during the NAMA (North American Mycological Association) gathering this weekend outside of Asheville. Ken and I spent about four hours on the trails, and decided on a plan which should give our participants a good experience. Along the way a few good things happened. In mid-Sept, Ken found a small patch of black trumpets, we saw our first Honey mushrooms of the year, and I found a small, and I mean small (10 oz.) Hen of the Woods, Grifola frondosa. We split it
Friday morning, I got up and figured that if Honeys were up in Brevard, then maybe here too. Sure enough, they were and along the way I experienced something worth sharing. Strange Jack O’Lanterns were around also. Last year I posted a blog picture that showed Honeys and Jacks intermingled at the based of the same large, dead oak., Well, Friday I saw what appeared to be the yellowish honey-colored cap of an Armillaria mellea (top), but they were in fact Jack O’Lanterns, Omphalotus illudens (bottom), unless the name has been recently changed. Apparently the recent heavy rains had leached the orange pigments out of the Jack. If a novice had been foraging, and not turned the cap over to examine it, and ignored the other ID features,, the could have very well picked one or two it they were in a rush and not mindful. Look at the exposed gills in this picture and notice how whitish they are. To a pro, no prob. To a novice, prob.
Today was a dry day; however, I took a flyer on my favorite lobster spot – the one that had that 100 pound yield several years ago. It’s way past mid-August, but Ken and I had found a few small ones on Thursday, so I went in anyway. Bam! As I entered he woods, orange spots appeared and I got about 10 pounds. They had the feel of and size of having come up over the weekend and then sat in the low humidity this week. Pretty good though. So . . . . . be looking because we re still in the Summer-Fall transition period. Puffballs haven’t shown up yet – any day now.
Thursday was a great time for everybody that came to Echo Bistro and Wine Bar tin Knoxville to eat wild mushrooms, sample chanterelle vodka, and support the Free Medical Clinic. A share of mushroom sales and some GENEROUS donations raised $413.34 for the clinic. Thanks !!!
From t left to right: morel pate, lobster mushrooms and crab canapé, and angel hair pasta with chanterelles (and a piece of bread at the top