Bumper Crop of Fungi

I’m sitting here staring at about 20 lbs of mushrooms that I picked this afternoon. Around noon, I was heading out to run a few errands with Cooper, my red border collie – when the idea of a quick walk in the woods hit me. I headed a few kilometers outside of town and jumped into a wooded section of the valley.

Immediately, I saw the signs of mushroom growth and within one minute, I was looking at a patch of white chanterelles. Cooper and I quickly picked about 5 lbs and we headed back to the truck after about 30 fruitful, but wet minutes. In the forest I realized I had left my mushroom knife at home – so I had to improvise with a corkscrew (with a tiny blade for packaging removal). Back at the car, I ditched my jacket and stripped off my wet gortex. It wasn’t raining but there was so much moisture in the forest that walking anywhere attracted water from every tree branch, fern and shrub. The temperature was also fairly warm, this from my experience creates the perfect conditions for our local mushroom population. My first foray had been successful, but I was curious to see how the older growth forests, below the road were incubating fungi.

Cooper and I plunged off the dirt road and though a thicket of salal to get to a mossy forest with tall Douglas Fir trees. While above the road there was mainly white chanterelles, below the road was predominantly yellow chanterelles – and they were everywhere. I quickly picked another 5 pounds and the chanterelles continued to stretch out before me. There might have been 500 chanterelles nesting in clumps on the forest floor. Soon I started walking past dozens and only picking large, prime specimens. We came to a mossy slope and I stopped in my tracks, looking at a group of 5 porcini mushrooms, jutting out of the mossy bank.

With my trusty corkscrew knife, I cleaned up the porcini and added them to my harvest. They smelled incredible and were in prime shape – aside from a few teeth marks from some frisky squirrel. As I picked the mushrooms, one chattered at me from above, Cooper kept a close eye on him (he doesn’t like squirrels he reminded me). It was an excellent and impromptu afternoon of mushroom heaven. On the way back to the car, I found a nice clump of Pig’s Ear mushrooms and a beautiful grouping of Gypsy Mushrooms. One hour foraging, lots of perfect mushrooms and the knowledge that mushroom season has arrived with a vengeance.

I’m now motivated to get out into the forest whenever possible. Time to get on the phone and round up my old foraging partners!

Our Mushroom Forage on October 16th is now sold out.

We have added a second forage on October 23rd and are taking reservations 250 748-7450

About Bill Jones

Chef, Author and Forager

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