Fall is one of our favorite seasons. Not only does it bring colorful fall foliage, a crisp tang to the air (and the return of children to school), it’s the season when we normally expect to see the largest variety and abundance of fresh mushrooms. But each cycle of the seasons brings something different and 2017 has certainly been no exception. With weather that has been anything but normal, many of our fall favorites have been in short supply.
Thankfully, when it comes to rain – and mushrooms – late is better than never. Falling rain signaled the end of a long, hot summer in the West and a season of dangerous and deadly wildfires. Now, with Thanksgiving approaching, the fires are out and the ground is moist enough to call forth the familiar mushrooms of autumn. Most of our treasured favorites have already made their appearance, and even better, we’re finding a few varieties of edible fungi that are seldom seen in abundance.
Here are a few of the mushrooms found on a recent foray of under an hour’s duration. Clockwise from top left: western matsutake (recently reclassified as Tricholoma murrillianum), pig’s ears (Gomphus clavatus), saffron milk cap (Lactarius deliciosus), porcini (Boletus edulis) and Birch bolete (Leccinum scabrum).
Many of the usual suspects didn’t make it into this picture, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been around: chanterelles, black trumpets and lobster mushrooms have all been popping up in their regular places, right on schedule.
What’s our advice for mushroom lovers and hopeful foragers? Get out into the woods! You won’t find mushrooms if you don’t look for them. And even in those rare years when edible mushrooms are few and far between, you’ll enjoy the benefits of fresh air, a vigorous walk and some quality time with Mother Nature.