Memorial Day Weekend

 

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When you find a bunch of Morels in a small area make sure to mark it on your GPS.  Erin and I have some reliable patches that seem to produce each year.

 

by Brady Raymond

How do you thank those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country?  As folks barbecued with friends and family this past weekend or in my case mushroom hunted, I hope we all took a moment to reflect on the freedoms we have to do these things and the lives that were lost to protect those freedoms.  Since I can’t thank those who were lost in the line of duty I would like to thank those who are currently serving and those who have served in the past.  Thank you, your service does not go unnoticed by this author.

For the last five years, Erin and I have taken part in what may be the premier mushrooming foray in the Pacific Northwest, maybe even the country.  As we arrived at our destination, thoughts of the Morel season coming to a close were on our minds.  Things had been dry over the last week and as we all know “dry” is the enemy of fungi.  What would we find this weekend?  Would we find anything at all?

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Morels with Scallops and Asparagus

 

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Thyme flowers are a great addition if you have them in your herb garden

 

by Erin Raymond

I recently saw a post by Langdon Cook on Instagram of a meal with morels and scallops that looked amazing.  I had never had morels with scallops, but decided I needed to try it immediately.  Fortunately, a couple days after I decided this, Brady and I found a couple pounds of morels.  I looked at a number of different recipes online and combined them into the recipe below.  It was delicious!  Thanks for the inspiration Langdon!

Begin by roasting the asparagus in the oven with a bit of olive oil and cook wild rice pilaf.  Melt butter in a pan and sautee the morels and shallots until the mushrooms are cooked through.  Turn the heat up to medium and add the scallops, turning once.  Add some cream when flipping the scallops.  Once the scallops are done, serve over wild rice pilaf and top with fresh thyme and asparagus.

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It’s Happening

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Erin took this picture with her phone.  It’s incredible what phones can do these days, maybe some day genetic testing in the field will be possible.

by Brady Raymond

  • 5-19-17 – 5-20-17
  • 70 degrees, sunny
  • 1800-4200ft.

Things are heating up and Morels are popping.  Erin, our daughter, the dog and I headed out for an overnight mushrooming mini adventure and we were not disappointed.  Over the two days we spent looking, we gathered around 120 Morels totaling 2lbs almost exactly, not bad for naturals considering we had a small child and a dog who is more of a trail dog than a hunting companion.

On Friday we hit up a trail in one of our spots and within a minute or two I had already picked my first Morel.  It didn’t take long to find the next few either.  I hopped off the trail expecting to find Morels everywhere but to my surprise, I found zilch.  There were a few spots of snow in the shade but for the most part, it was gone.  I’m assuming the trail itself received more sunlight thus was a bit warmer than the surrounding woods.  We were at 4000ft. and up here it was still getting quite cold at night.

We continued down the trail happily picking Morels along its edges for a quarter mile or so.  As the trail gained in elevation the mushrooms were fewer and further apart.  After a hundred yards of finding nothing, we turned around.  We wondered how many we would spot on the way back and were greeted by a number of these shifty fungi we had somehow missed.  It doesn’t take much for a Morel to be obscured from sight, it only takes a leaf or branch to hide it from you.  Erin spotted a number of them that I had walked right by as she walked behind me, no doubt due in part to the discrepancy of height between the two of us.

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More Morels

Morel 2 5-13-17

by Brady Raymond

  • 5-13-17
  • 50 degrees, partial sun to drizzle-light rain
  • 1800-3100ft.

I have a problem, I’m addicted to Morels.  Erin and I have put some serious miles down the last two weekends, driving up and down mountain passes and zig zagging our way through forest service roads.  The urge is unbearable, one that is only quelled slightly by the meager yields we have so far harvested.  Twenty-one Morels this weekend, that brings our total for the season of twenty-eight.

“Brady” I said to myself “it’s not a competition, relax, enjoy the hunt.”  But, it is a competition and I’m at twenty-eight.  Lots of people have found more than me, and they laugh at my season total.  These folks have accumulated more weight in spores than I have in the spore bearer.  There is a good chance though that the average person among me has found none and I relish in this fact.

Mushroom hunting isn’t really a competition but anyone who’s done it knows how guarded and secretive you get when questioned about the subject.  I imagine that this traces back to ancient times, to protect what is yours and when you poses so few things it would seem this behavior may be stronger especially when regarding something so tantamount to survival as a food source.

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The Real Deal

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Just fry them up already!

by Brady Raymond

  • 5-7-17
  • 55 degrees
  • 1800-4000ft.

They’re here, they’re here!  I have officially found my first Morel of the season, seven to be more precise and they were as delicious as I had remembered.  I can still taste their delectable flavor and can rest easy in knowing that the essence of the Morel now resides in my body, helping to build the future me.  We have bonded, man and fungus.  Wait, I’m not sure if that sounds right but it is essentially true, this is a fungal infection I hope sticks around for a while.

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Lichen Tuesdays!

Lichen

by Kim Traverse, PSMS  President

Lichen study might pass for exoteric if it weren’t that lichens are almost everywhere- on the sidewalks and streets we use daily, on the walls and trunks of trees that we walk past, clinging to the branches of those trees and on shrubs. From the shore to the top of mountain peaks, lichens coat the rocks and sometimes cover the ground. They are part of every ecosystem except the deep sea and can live in the harshest places on the planet- the driest, the coldest, the hottest- at least one grows underwater.

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False Hope

Verpa bohemica

A False Morel, Verpa bohemica often time fruit just before Morels do

by Brady Raymond

Trip Info

  • 4-29-17
  • 55 degrees
  • 1800-2800ft.

My expectations weren’t too high setting out this last Saturday, but I had an inkling that fungi flourished on the Eastern slope of the Cascades.  Many of my friends and family were finding Morels back in Southern Michigan and that got the bug in me enough to head out and poke around a few of our regular spots.  We decided to gauge what conditions were like at 1800-2800ft. east of the pass.  The temperature still seemed a bit cool but moisture levels seemed good.

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Remember Me?

Ghost Morel

Ghost Morels

Remember me?  I just wanted to let you know, I’ll be back before you know it.

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Insert angelic choir swell, maybe something in Major 8 Major

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It’s all mine.

I thought, to get folks into the spirit of the hunt that I’d link up a few articles about Morels from last spring.

‘Tis The Season

4000ft. Morels

The Last Morel(s) Standing pt.1

The Last Morel(s) Standing pt.2

Verpa

Fooled ya!  Don’t fall for the Verpa trap, unless of course that’s your thing.

 

A Simple Oyster Mushroom Breakfast

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Fried eggs on english muffins with oyster mushrooms and fresh herbs

by Erin & Brady Raymond

Saute the oyster mushrooms in butter on medium high until they start to look crispy. Once they look done,  put them on a plate with a paper towel to soak up the excess butter while cooking the eggs and toasting the english muffins.  This breakfast comes together pretty quickly and the fresh parsley and thyme really set it off.

Often times keeping it simple yields delicious results, case in point.  It was exciting to find our first oysters of the year too, and that surely made such a simple recipe that much more rewarding.  We noticed a number of small oysters growing on a log, too small to harvest, just before we found this nice little clump (pictured below).  The weather has been perfect as of late and I’m sure anyone who takes the time to look for dead Alder trees will find themselves eating some oyster mushrooms too.

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Figuring Things Out, I Think, Well, Maybe

Peziza?

It’s a Peziza, right?

by Brady Raymond

Fungal diversity in the PNW is lower in the spring than in the fall, yet interesting mushrooms are to be found for those willing to look.  To be fair, our regions mycofloral diversity is only lacking in the fruiting bodies, the mycelium of all the fall players still lurks below our feet and imbedded deep within dead wood, building and storing energy for their inevitable fall flush.

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