Not many yet, at least where we were, but the ones we found were prime. Seems like we’ve had more than enough rain for a true bonanza, but I’m wondering if it’s because the summer was so dry, the soil still needs another good soaking or two.
Or perhaps someone was picking ahead of us and all we saw were the ones they missed?
Hard to say, but few-and-far-between is okay…we just wanted enough for a meal, and a little walking between scores makes it all the more fun. Anyway, we ended up with a couple of pounds for a pretty casual hour’s walk in the woods. Perfect.
After what has been the longest, most beautiful summer in recent memory, it seems fall is actually here now. Scattered showers between long stretches of warm, bluesky days have given way to what looks to be a pretty steady stream of gray and wet. We cranked up the wood stove for the first time tonight, and it felt and smelled just like the season.
While slugs and mold spores are jubilant, there is good news for us humans, too: Chanterelles are popping up in prime condition now. These are not the dry, hard mushrooms of August rain showers, or the soggy, wet behemoths of November, but rather the perfect, firm specimens that make these mushrooms so popular with cooks and eaters alike.
But I think what I love most about wild mushrooms is the process of finding them. There’s nothing like getting out in the woods and walking around with friends and family–with a focus reminiscent of childhood Easter egg hunts. My good friend Neal and I had a great time picking the other day–just a short little run to nearby woods, but full of good talk and plenty of golden beauties. I stopped harvesting just long enough to snap this shot of one before it went into my bag. Next stop, atop a chanterelle pizza. Or in pasta. Or over creamy polenta…