by Brady Raymond
I keep reminding myself that things are cyclical, not necessarily circular but more likely some form of a distorted oval. Yes, the seasons make their rounds but they do it differently from year to year. Some seasons bucket loads of mushrooms are brought in by almost anyone that glances way of suitable habitat and yet other years you scratch by the best you can. All of this is overlaid on a 3-D geography interacting with weather systems both worldly and cosmic.
Why are some year’s seasons stellar while others kind of, well, meh? I like to think it is everything else in life, but it is likely that my own distractions shielded the mushrooms from my lustful gaze. Maybe my brain wasn’t fully tuned into them this year, maybe I need to find new spots altogether, maybe the last Morel to have ever existed has been picked, put into a basket and taken home to be eaten by some newbie undeserving of such a tasty forest treat. Oh, the horror if that were to be true. I did, however, find enough this year to feed well upon, and I am thankful for all that nature has provided me, yet I still I want more, more from a season that seems to be breaking fast.
It’s not much to look at but, they are all mine so at least there is that.
Oh, the glory.
by Brady Raymond
What will be the outcome for the “Spring 2018 Washington Mushroom Season?” Only the future knows. However, I know that I’m finding Morels at various elevations. I also know that I’m loving every second of it. I worry a little that the weather is going to get too hot too quick and before we know it the season will be over. I cast these thoughts aside though, and I focus on the task at hand, which is quite simple, “To find as many Morels as I can.”
So far, the pickings have been a little slim for me, but what I have found has been thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve seen a few other folks while out and only one looked to have a bag with very much in it, so I don’t think I’m doing too bad. The two times I have been out this season We’ve collected enough to feed three for both breakfast and dinner. These are meager pickings comparatively speaking but, one has to be thankful for anything Mother Nature is willing to offer up.
Even the simplest of meals is awesome cooked over campfire coals, especially breakfast.
If you want to learn about mushrooms gather round for Brian’s table tours at PSMS field trips.
by Brady Raymond
Morels are here, and that means it’s time to gear up and head out. I have reports of landscape Morels being found in the Puget Sound lowlands and as warmer weather moves in we can start moving up into the mountains. Landscape Morels are good but mountain Morels are better and probably cleaner too. Make sure if you find landscape Morels to be discerning when picking them for the table. Many urban landscapes are fouled with pesticides and other harmful contaminants, caution is urged when collecting near human populations. If you are lucky enough to spot some locale landscape Morels count it as a good omen for the rest of the season.
Spring also means the beginning of the 2018 PSMS field trip season. If you’ve been on field trips in the past you probably already know that it is one of the best ways to learn about mushrooms and if you haven’t been on a field trip let me reiterate, it is one of the best ways to learn about mushrooms. There is no substitute for getting out in the woods and finding mushrooms first hand, taking in all of the peripheral clues and of course having access to one of PSMS’s most valuable resources, Brian Luther.
Wren Hudgins, Chair, Field Trip Guiding Committee
New PSMS members (welcome to you) or infrequent field trip attendees may have varying expectations about our field trips. Although unexpected events can and do occur, the following represents how things generally happen on our trips. First, there is a lot of good information on our website, so be sure to read that. The website also has a link to a page called “Harvesting Rules”. It would be good to review that page in advance, relative to the locale where the field trip will take place. You will find information about permit requirements if any, harvest limits, etc.
Unless specified otherwise, no reservations are necessary for any trip. Trips are for members and considered a member benefit. On occasion in the past, we have let members bring one non-member guest, once, as sort of a free trial, to see if they like the experience enough to join. If you are in that situation, ask Brian Luther, our Field Trip Chairperson, (and Identification Chairperson as well) if it’s OK to bring a friend once. Sometimes carpools can be arranged in advance via the group email lists. Members generally arrive at the trip site between 8am and 9am.
William Padilla Brown – Fungal Fortunes
The field of mycology has never been more accessible to the public. With online forums, books from experts and workshops in almost all major cities in the U.S., we are seeing more and more ‘amateur mycologists’ contributing to our understanding of Fungi! William will be speaking on how he went from dropping out of high school to culturing wild mushrooms, starting a farm and learning how to grow Cordyceps militaris. Learn how fungi and mushrooms can be incorporated into whole system designs for the home/farm and community for food, medicine and remediation.
William Padilla-Brown had the opportunity to grow up traveling, living in England, Taiwan, Mexico, New York he now is back in his hometown of New Cumberland, PA. He is a social entrepreneur, citizen scientist, mycologist, amateur phycologist, urban shaman, poet and father to his beloved 3-year old son, Leo. Leaving high school at age 16, Will pursued a non-traditional, independent approach to learning and actively promotes alternative education. He holds Permaculture Design Certificates from Susquehanna Permaculture and NGOZI. In 2014, he established Community Compassion, a nonprofit focused on radical sustainability, based in New Cumberland, PA. In 2015 he founded MycoSymbiotics LLC – a mycological research and mushroom production business. He has raised over 30 types of mushrooms and 6 types of algae. He is driving mycological research in the areas of food production, mycoremediation and medicinal value. Will educates children and adults alike about topics ranging from nutrition to mushroom cultivation, having led workshops and various programs all over the country. Will is proud to be a contributing editor for Fungi Magazine, the foremost Mycological periodical.
Doors open at 6:30 pm at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Come early and bring any mushrooms you want identified!
by Brady Raymond
I couldn’t get the idea out of my head that Morel season may be starting early for me this year, as I jetted across western skies on my way south to Silver City, New Mexico. I had found a few articles online about mushrooming down yonder but I couldn’t find much on the topic. All I really had to go on was the weather and as things go around here, things down there seemed just about perfect. For those of you interested only in mushrooms, I’ll be up front, I didn’t find much. However, it was a good exercise in getting my eyes tuned up for the season albeit maybe tuned a little sharp as I was looking for cacti.
Silver City is located in Grant County in Southwestern New Mexico, it rests at 5900 ft. and is home to around 10,000 people. I’ve visited this region some fourteen years earlier on a road trip with a friend just out of high school and things still looked pretty much the same. One thing that caught my attention on this trip was the incredible abundance of lichen, all sorts of the stuff coating rock and tree alike. I’m no lichen expert so these couple of photos will have to suffice, but trust me when I say it was everywhere, adding little splashes of color to the browns and grays that dominate the landscape.
Lichen, lichen everywhere.
Emory Pass 8200 ft.
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Waxcaps In Seattle City Parks
by Paul A. Hill
In the dark days of winter, I’m still thinking of mushrooms, but sometimes they are hard to find. Luckily in January, I often start seeing Waxcaps in my local wooded city parks. I believe there are at least three species I have spotted over the years in Seward Park on Lake Washington in SE Seattle. All of the following photos were taken in 2017. A note on usage, Waxy Caps or Waxcaps are both names used for several related genera in Hygrophoraceae family. Above is a picture of the common red Hygrocybe with lots of yellow, but little, if any white. I identify it as H. aurantiosplendens, generally because of the colors and size.
The following photo is of a ragged H. aurantiosplendens showing the orange-red gills. In January, I often come across these orange-red Hygrocybe which have become tattered. It appears the mice and slugs in the park nibble on them through the winter. Since these Hygrocybe seem to be the first ones up in January and there are not very many of them, they seem to suffer more nibbles then those which come up in larger numbers later in the winter.
Hygrocybe aurantiosplendens, this specimen has seen better days.
by Erin Raymond
Ingredients used: Chicken, olive oil, pasta, chanterelle powder, egg, parmesan, salt, pepper, chili powder.
First, I roasted a whole chicken rubbed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and chanterelle powder. I set the chicken on top of some carrots and onion to keep the chicken off the bottom of the pan. You could also roast some chicken thighs if you do not want to roast a whole chicken.
When the chicken was almost done, I cooked the pasta. In a medium bowl, I whisked 2 eggs with about a cup of grated parmesan and about 2 tablespoons of chanterelle powder. Once the pasta was done and strained, I returned it to the pot, removed the pot from the heat and quickly whisked in the egg, cheese and chanterelle mixture. Note: it is important the pot is not too hot so you don’t scramble the egg mixture.
I topped the pasta with the roasted chicken, basil, some delicious Basque chili powder that I received for Christmas, a bit more parmesan and some salt and pepper. The result was excellent and the chanterelle flavor really came through. We will definitely be making this again in the future!
Bonus quick recipe: Think of a recipe. Add chanterelle powder.