After 3 years of living in Oregon, where foraging for mushrooms seems to be a right of passage, I finally had my initiation last weekend....and again today. A friend and I ventured outside of Portland in search of chanterelles. I admit, I don't care for them myself. It's a texture issue. And really, I'm not completely crazy about mushrooms in general. But learning about the mushrooms, seeing the amazing variety that exists in these forests, and searching for the edible chanterelles was like a treasure hunt. I HAD A BLAST!
Teaching this old dog some new tricks is really great motivation. And now I'm learning to identify mushrooms, which is super fun even if I don't eat them! I'm basically just a geek that likes identifying all living organisms. It's fun! I like to know what I'm looking at when I go hiking. I like being able to share my knowledge with others who aren't necessarily familiar with it...or perhaps they don't spend nearly as much time staring at the ground like me. After all, I'm short. I'm closer to it.
Anyway, last weekend, we landed a goldmine of chanterelles. The amount that we collected probably would have cost a small fortune (or about $80) in the grocery store. Today's collection was really only a small fraction of that, but it was still fun! I saw different species today that I didn't see last weekend.
The weather has been abnormally dry this last week and we found quite a number of dry mushrooms today. So maybe more fungi will rise when the rain returns. And now I'm hooked! I keep wanting to return to the forest to crawl around on the ground to look at these tiny little beast-looking organisms and capture tons of photos of those that I see.
I feel like I also need to throw in a word of advice for those who have not foraged for mushrooms. GET A FIELD GUIDE. I particularly recommend All That the Rain Promises and More by David Arora. It's basically the mushroom hunter's bible for the Northwest. It not only includes the edible mushrooms, but non-edible lookalikes that are poisonous. A simple mistake could be a deadly one so take caution! Be smart about it and don't take chances to eat them if you aren't 100% sure what they are.
Here are a few photos from today....