My fingers smell of wonderfully apricoty mushroom scent – the Yellow Chanterelle. It has been too long since I tasted this delectable fungal fruit. Ron and I went out on Sunday heading west over Santiam Pass and found the low marshy spots where we have had luck before. This old hot spot had small, and a little dried out mushrooms and a few nice ones, but what really helped were the huckleberry bushes nearby where we hadn’t explored. Underneath some of the bushes, loaded with berries, were large and meaty fresh yellow Chanterelles. What to pick first?! Feeling very supported and nourished in that beautiful place.
Many thanks to Christina Veverka, USFS botanist, and Tami Kerr, USFS past Special Forest Products lead, for your presentation about the current research on Matsutakes in the Deschutes Nat. Forest. What I remember most about the talk is
- A shiro is the mass of mycelium under the duff, usually forming an arc or fan for Matsutakes.
- Matsies like 30-80 year old lodgepole pine tree habitat best
- The USFS has an extensive 10 year study now in progress and uses sniffing soil samples to test for the presence of matsie mycelium (brown nosers.)
- Our soil and habitat is very similar to Japan’s so the flavor of our particular matsie is most desirable.
- Average price for commercial pickers across the season is $15/ pound though it varies greatly even during the same day, with a $20 price being the best return for pickers.
- When the price gets $40/pound or more, pickers ignore rules and begin to rake the shiro for grade #1, ruining future fruitings.
- At the peak in the 1990s, Matsie prices reached $500-$700/pound!
- Allotropa virgata – Candy Stick, is acutally a parasite on matsutake mycelium. If you find Candy Stick in the woods, matsutake mycelium is present.
- Temperature changes are much more important than moisture for matsies to fruit. The soil must be below 50 degrees for about three days to begin. They come up first in cold frosty pockets in the forest.
- It costs $40 for a 5 day non-commercial matsie picking permit and the 5 days must be decided at the time you purchase the permit.
- All commercial harvesters must camp in a commercial camp in the National Forest.
- The culture of the commercial picking camps is fascinating and full of exotic smells, sounds, and tastes unknown to most Central Oregonians.
Thank both of you for your time and effort. I was especially glad to hear how professional and thorough the research seems to be when deciding how the USFS should thin stands of timber.
The Central Oregon Mushroom Club, has set up an interesting meeting for September. Please attend this talk is you are at inclined to learn about the white pine mushroom, Matsutake, or Tricholoma magnivelare. This information could save someone’s life because this mushroom has been confused with the poisonous Amanita smithiana, which also grows in our area.
Date: Saturday 09-10-11
Venue: Brooks Room, Bend downtown library
* Mushroom harvesting on your national forest, rules & regulations
* Matsutake Ecology/ biology
* Matsutake as a commercial product
* Proper harvesting techniques
* Ongoing Matsutake research
Speakers: Tami Kerr and Christina Veverka.
About Tami Kerr: until recently, Tami was the lead for the Special Forest Products Program at the Crescent Ranger District, where she was the coordinator for the commercial matsutake program. She is currently the Natural Resources & Vegetation Program Analyst at the Deschutes & Ochoco National Forest.
About Christina Veverka: Christina is our District Botanist here at the Deschutes National Forest. She has been involved with the on-going Matsutake research.