Tuesday, August 4, 2009

fruitful foraging

Four years ago, before my parents had bought the land where they are now building a new home, I went bushwacking on that property with my dad and my new boyfriend. Unexpectedly, but wonderfully, we found over a pound of black trumpet mushrooms on that outing.
This past weekend, I went with my parents as they met, on the land, with the contractor who is working on the first phase of the house. While they talked with him, I wandered into the woods, curious to see if the mushrooms were growing where they had before. After about 40 mosquito bites and an incident with a blackberry bush, I emerged from the trees with a nice handful of the fragrant brown beauties.

These are not the most attractive mushrooms. They are the exact color of dead leaves, when the leaves are almost to the point of becoming soil. But they smell nutty, wine-y, and richly fungal (in the best sense)--definitely an umami-rich scent. They also retail for $18 a pound, so I am proud to find them in the woods, enough to contribute to a luxurious pasta dish for my mother's birthday dinner.
We also found, given directions by the contractor, a patch of big white polyphore mushrooms, but as we have not eaten these before, we are wary. My parents plan to consult the local mushroom expert.
Aside from foraging for mushrooms, it was a pleasant short visit. It was so nice to wake up on the screened porch and be surrounded by a golden-green forest morning.
As I did not have time to check out the blueberries (aside from the bush next to the dock, see photo), I plan to go back up this coming weekend.

[Note: I have been picking black trumpets and chanterelles since I was about 9 years old. Use caution with wild mushrooms and consult a mushroom book.]