I came to an exciting realization this yesterday. It's that we are up to our eyeballs in mushrooms out here.
Lucas, one of the stewards of Seven Arrows, came to me with a chicken of the woods mushroom wrapped up in his shirt after a jog through the park earlier this week. I had found one a couple of days before, peeking from behind an old oak tree from the wooded road that our farm is situated on. "There are tons of mushrooms up there, we should go check it out" he told me. I agreed, and the sooner the better.
So yesterday after we both had our coffee, we set out on a mushroom expedition. I wanted to bring a basket with but Lucas advised against anything conspicuous because he was uncertain about whether or not foraging is allowed in the park. I opted for a reusable shopping bag and we started the walk down the road to the nearest trail. Cars gave us a wide berth on the road, as the drivers here are not quite as comfortable with the bicyclists or joggers that dot the wooded road throughout the day.
We walked a few minutes along the road before cutting up the hill on an established trail alongside a very large and old fallen oak. No more than 100 paces up we started spotting fungi sprouting up from the abundance of leaf litter and fallen trees. We followed several of the trails and found some of the following:
Chicken of the Woods:
Easy to identify, large and meaty these pop up frequently around here around the bases of old trees. We harvested about 10 lbs of them this week alone.
These little guys stick out like a sore thumb. We've got both the typical golden yellow chanterelles in abundance here, as well as the more reddish orange Cinnabar chanterelles which make for a lovely mix of mushroomy goodness when sauteed up with butter and herbs.
Also known as Horn of Plenty, these mushrooms are EVERYWHERE. I'm planning on going up to harvest some to infuse in some olive oil for seasoning pasta.
There are also tons of other mushrooms that, as beginner myco-nerd, I still have to learn to identify. Many russula and boletus out there, so I'll have to get into the habit of spore printing for proper I.D. Mushrooms are beautiful, tempting looking things but it's important to avoid consuming any mushrooms that you cannot 100% confirm.
We'll be walking the woods here and foraging in addition to cultivating a bunch of logs for our Edible Mushroom 101 class coming up in October, so sign up while you can!
Want to learn more about wild mushrooms? Check out this nifty website!