What a fascinating and well-attended talk last night at the April COMC meeting! Over 60 folks listened to Ja Schindler of Fungi For the People in Dexter, OR. Ja described his work through slides of the many species he cultivates and sells wholesale to suppliers. He has workshops on growing your own mushrooms from spores at his lab in Lowell, OR. Ja got us very excited about delicious species that would do well growing in our area and gave away free starter kits to those who stayed through his 2 hour talk (Shiitake and Stropharia.) His partner, Valerie, has been working with him on the medicinal aspects of mushrooms, creating tinctures and infusions that provide immunity boosts for all sorts of ailments. It was hard to stop the meeting with so much yet to hear and we will definitely invite him back for another visit. Our club now has 15 new members from this one meeting!
I received an email from an enthusiastic and seemingly knowledgeable mushroom hunter who just discovered our club via this website. He sent remarkable photos of Blewits, Clitocybe nuda (a.k.a. Lepista nuda) that he recently found in “eastern Oregon.” Some say this fall fungi is their favorite mushroom. I don’t find it in Central Oregon, even in the fall, or else I am believing they are all a dangerous Cortinarius species. Corts have rusty-brown spores, Blewits have light-lavendar colored spores. Such a lucky find for Jordan!
Here is what he wrote:
1) Purple, beautiful purple when fresh. tan-purple in age
2) Purple, deep lavender gills that are attached, notched
3) debris adhering on base, visible mycelium
4) In duff, with organic matter-in the drip-zone of trees; planted and native
5) Pinkish-buff spore print
6) Fruity, sweetish-odor”
We are excited to have more passionate fungi funatics join our club.
Mushroom Man Dale has been out scouting again and found about 30 or more Verpa bohemicas along the Columbia River near Portland this week. Yes, they look like morels, but the caps of Verpas are only attached at the very top of the stem, like a thimble. The stem is usually stuffed with cotton-like fibers, then hollow in age. Although many people eat these with no problem, it is best to parboil them first and discard the water. Studies show this species contains a small amount of Gyromitrin, a toxin, the doesn’t completely leave the cooked mass, so don’t each many at one sitting!
The best part of this find is that they indicate morels are close behind, maybe a couple weeks. Remember this is near Portland, so you do the math – 500 ft. of elevation per week. If these were picked was last week, near see level and we are at 3600 ft, well, about Mother’s Day week around here. (That is when I usually get my mushroom permit.) Please let us know what you find!