My friend Dale was up in the Ochocos yesterday, June 10, near Walton Lake. He searched for hours up and down the surrounding hills and found a few morels in good condition. Just as he was about to be done, he came across a patch of about 80 morels, many of them blondes! He is trying to figure out why this one spot fruited so prolifically and nowhere else. Only 2 or 3 were too old to take, he says. He also found some nice firm puffballs. Here’s a photo of some of Dale’s hunt in the Ochocos.
Spring Kings are still out there but not for long! Morels are pretty much done in the lower elevations, though on Friday, Jiune 5, two of us found about a dozen large yellow and black morels growing directly at the base of flowering currant bushes. We had to look between the stalks of the bushes to find them. We were at 5600 ft. near Mt. Bachelor, so head up high and check out the bushes. Be sure to process your spring kings right away because the bugs eat fast, even if you leave them in frig! If you just cook them and figure out what do with them later, you will save a lot mushroom from the bugs. Also, don’t discard those yellow-greenish tubes (the spongy part under the cap.) Dry them separately from the cap and stem context. We ground the dried tubes and put them into a pate’ of freshly saute’d boletes last night and it totally enhanced their very mild flavor. Bon appetit!
If you’re not finding Spring Kings, you’re not trying very hard. They are all over on the side roads to Mt. Bachelor. Yes, they are in spots often close to others and then not for awhile, like morels, but you can find them. This is our stash (12 lbs.)from this morning after maybe 1:45 minutes and a twenty minute drive to 5250 ft. Go up NOW to where the fir and pine start to mix and get out to look. If you wait, the heat this weekend will hatch out all the bug larvae and many will be too wormy to take. It stays light very late. Another advantage to an evening trek in the woods is that we saw a black fox about 6 PM yesterday, very close. He didn’t run. So exciting, having never seen a fox around here
Amanita aprica is the most common mushroom in our Deschutes National forest right now. I have never seen it like this in the 27 years we have lived here. It is also fruiting in many yards in the city, so we are seeing frequent toxicity reports from animal owners, especially dogs. One man told me he collects a 5 gallon bucket of buttons every other day in LaPine by patrolling his property twice a day, trying to keep his show dogs from eating them. Last spring he nearly lost his prize dog due to these rascal fungi. The photo of the Amanitas sitting on wood is of some that fruit under my huge Ponderosa pine trees right in Bend. Note how the universal veil leaves a cottonly layer of material adhering to the cap besides the small warts. Often the apricot-yellow cap is almost entirely covered with the veil even in age. You can’t help but step on them while looking for Spring Kings! Please check your yard and property if you have dogs or young children! The only way to rid your property of them is to cut down every tree and that may not work.
“…found same ‘False Morels’ today that I cut and piled. Cheers. Gave away half the Spring Kings to other fishermen today and could of picked 50 lbs of corals… thick at S Century and upper Deschutes bridge
Central Oregon Mushroom Club sponsored a field trip to the side roads on the way to Mt.Bachelor this Saturday, May 30. The first stop was Virginia Meissner, an area heavily picked, but folks found a few bolete buttons and morels. The next area was near Edison Butte and participants all came home with Spring King buttons, some morels and even an Agaricu albolutescens! Here are photos of some of the fun thanks to Buddy Mays!
Thank you, Buddy for the photograph and for the reminder that these are NOT morels or even FALSE MORELS. Not even the same genus. Please don’t eat these, even if you have been told they are edible. Many folks have eaten these for years, but the toxin in them can build up in your systerm and cause great illness later, if not right away. The name is very deceiving because they are not excellent. Note the brainy-type head, not the ridges and pits of morels. They grow in the same habitat and at the same time of year. Beginners beware!
From Buddy: “We went to Cultus Lake on Monday and found about a dozen morels, all of them in pretty good shape considering that the forest is so dry. The campground hose told me that on Saturday and Sunday, several people had gone through the campground carrying grocery bags half filled with morels, so we may have missed the season there. I also found two spring bolete buttons, and I don’t think they have really started yet. But, the trillium are in full bloom. I hope some of you had better luck.”
From Buddy: “I found the strangest, largest morel today up around Meissner Snow Park that I’ve ever found. When I got it home I put it on our postal scale and it weighed six ounces.The first picture is when it came out of the ground, and the other is after I cut in half. It reminded me of someone’s brain……. Has the east side of the Cades been irradiated by aliens? Anyone have any suggestions as to why it looked like that?”