Garret Towne, our local mushroom cultivation expert will share his expertise on how to grow your own oysters mushrooms and other fungi at a class on Monday evening, August 30 at the Brooks room in the Deschutes Library in Bend from 6-8 PM. The $10 cost will cover his supplies and attendees will leave spawn to grow oyster mushrooms on their own. Garret would like to find other people interested in cultivating with whom he could share ideas, special equipment, and mushroom spawns.
The Spring Kings are just starting to show up as fresh buttons in the mixed coniferous woods, about 2 weeks late. Note how they are brick colored unlike the tan caps of King Boletes (Boletus edulis.) They also taper at the bottom of the stem instead of staying bulbous. No matter because they are quite good and will probably fruit prolifically in the next couple weeks. Catch them before the heat does or the maggots will have their way first. They are best if dried before eating. This seems to concentrate their flavor.
Folks are still finding morels, but above 5000 ft. The lower morels are very big and often dark brown with age, resulting in an unpleasant earthy taste even if you dry them.
I have changed the Latin name on this picture three times now because I found what I hope to be the latest in the name changes. Chlorophyllum rachodes, also known as Lepiota rachodes and Macrolepiota rachodes is shown in this picture from the internet, but the Shaggy Parasol in Valerie and Dave’s yard looks just like it. It is a delicious mushroom and often fruits in quantity in gardens and pastures. Since Dave and Valerie have such a great crop growing, check out your own garden to see if you have these treasures.
This is a beautiful parasol shaped mushroom with free gills, white spores and a stem that bruises brown when handled and stains instantly orangy-red when cut. Because of its bulbous base, you may think it is an Amanita, but not so. The shaggy parts are not on the actual stem and bulb – look carefully when digging it up. The stem of this Lepiota is very stiff, though hollow in the middle. It is so delicious and well worth learning. Some folks have allergies to it so only eat a little at first.
One rare look-alike called Chlorophyllum molibdites grows in warmer climates (Cal. ) though I have heard reports of it occuring in southern Oregon. It has GREEN spores and will make you very sick. It is very unlikely that you have the green spored parasol, but check it out to be totally safe.
Be sure to post here if you have ever found this mushroom in our area. It is nice for others to know how lucky you are!
From Frank’s May 30 email….
After a huge dinner for 4 of morel pasta with asparagus tips and peas, we still had to deal with these! What a wonderful problem! Why are folks complaining about the rain? These had just popped in an area that had been harvested before.
May 27, 2010
“These were near Prospect. As far as I know, spring kings don’t fruit under 2500 feet in our area. Many people think they’re mycorhizal with grand fir, so I look for a grand fir and then look nearby, a lot further out than the dripline. If there’s lots of grand fir then I just walk and watch the ground for a bump or a bump with a crack where it looks like the soil’s being pushed up from underneath. Early in the season they’re by roadsides, later in deep woods. You can follow them up the mountain. A Prineville resident told me that they find them around Father’s day there. They young ones fetch the most money, but the older ones have more flavor. More on preparation at another time! Bob
Gyromitra gigas is also called Gyromitra montana in our part of the country, though the DNA work for a final name decision has not been made to my knowledge. I just go with G. gigas because it is what I know right now and most mushroom books continue to use. At this moment, G.gigas is in the woods in large numbers with a correspoonding number of questions about its edibility.
What I have read and heard from “old timers,” is that “Bull’s nose” has been eaten by many people through the years. Some say they parboil the slices, drain off the liquid, parboil again, drain, then fry up and eat. (Don’t breathe in the steam while boiling!) I say, why bother? We have tried it this way once or twice and I can still say, why bother? I know it is a temptingly large mushroom that can fruit in quantities when few others are out there, but some Gyromitras are known to contain a carcinogenic toxin, gyromitrin, which is said to accumulate in your body over time. This means you could eat it for a long time with little ill effect until many years later. G. gigas (a.k.a. G. montana) is not known to contain large quantities of this, but they can’t test all of them, so I personally can skip the possibility of toxin build up. I suggest you do the same unless you know other information about G. gigas and we would love to hear it.
Gyromitra gigas comes up early, right after the snow melts, so morels should follow . Check the same areas another week later.
An interesting email on May 26, ’10 from David and Sue S., new residents to Bend and old-time mushroomers,
“Regarding our morel hunting. We have really only been out about three times since arriving here. However, we have collected roughly 20-30 morels each time involving about 3-4 hours hiking around the woods. We wasted a lot of time just looking at the country side up in the Metolius River drainage and trying to determine where we were. The purchase of the District Ranger topo map with all the USFS road numbers has helped that situation. On our trip yesterday, we found a number of large morels that stuck out like sore thumbs.
About a week ago we were in the vicinity of Jack Creek drainage at about 3200 feet and met a Laotian couple in the woods. Susie talked with them in Thai and we found out that the buyer pays them $12 for blonde morels and $10 for black morels. The woman had a couple of nice young Spring Boletes with bright yellow spore tubes in her bucket which the buyer is willing to pay them $18/lb. We, in the meantime, had found a couple nice patches of yellow Ramaria rasilispora (?) which we brought home and cleaned and ate for dinner and prepared the remainder for freezing.
The Laotian couple were very friendly and took us to their “mushroom camp” in an area set aside by the USFS for the commercial pickers. They have been here since beginning of May and go out everyday and spend the entire day in the forests coming back to the camp before 7:00pm when the buyer arrives. She said they will move next to “Bend” for Boletes, but she couldn’t tell us exactly where in the “Bend” area they would camp and exactly when they would move. But, apparently, they go to the same spot every year.
This fact made me wonder where exactly in the Bend area are the Boletes?”
The boletes the Laotion woman was picking were most likely Boletus regius (Red-capped Butter Boletes ) because they have bright yellow pores. We have collected them in the spring along Hwy 97 on the way to Sunriver. They are tasty, not as good as King Boletes, quickly wormy, but worth taking. The cap color is supposed to be rosy red, but ours have been more ruddy colored. You did not mention anything about the blue staining of the pores.
Here is a Boletus regius photo I found on the internet:
The spring kings we found in large quantity last spring are called Boletus rex-veris and fruit along the many roads leading to Mt. Bachelor just as the morels wane. Spring kings are rusty brick brown instead of warm tawny brown of B.edulis and have a tapered to equal stem instead of a bulbous bottom. I think the spring kings are quite good and I am not sure I would know the difference, though some of you certainly say so. Any comments?
I would easily pay $12 a pound for blonde morels and quite happily buy blacks at $10, for all the walking and driving required to bring home a stash. Where are those commercial guys when I am tired of looking? – Linda
From Green Ridge – above the Metolius River
We hunted with friends on Sunday, May 23, starting at the Black Butte burn on Rd. 11, but found little. We slowly made our way up near the top of Green Ridge where the Wizard Falls fire ended several years ago. Ah-ha, Big morels, not the small little burn babies, but big ponderosa-pine-cone-sized morels!
We hiked up and down the hill, seeing only a few cuttings of other pickers. Some morels were fresh at 4500 ft. and some older, having been frozen and thawed a few times. By the time we reached the top of the ridge, it was late and my eyes were tired of looking, so most of what we found was in the last hour and you see in this basket. Still there is enough to dry instead of eating every one in a meal or two. Yes, I know they are supposed to be cut in half so they can’t be sold. They crumble so easily when cut if they aren’t totally fresh With our little last minute stash, we broke the rule, one that Ron usually is very good about following. Finding the big morels is so much more fun than all those little cones!
Frank and Rebecca’s Hunter Grace
May 2, 2010m Mushroom Potluck/meeting
About 28 folks showed up at Dave and Lynette’s house on Sunday afternoon, May 2 , with great appetizers and tasty wines. Doug B. brought a dish containing Hericium from last fall. Yum! Several versions of tyropitas stuffed with mushrooms added to the fungal fair. Several folks had morel stories to share from their excursions this last week. Diane O. brought in a small bag to show off the handful of morels she found near Wizard Falls on Sat. Dave M. and friends talked about the pint or two they found mid-week along the Metolius river and showed photos to prove it. Lots of looking for little return, they say.
We have someone in Central Oregon who knows how to cultivate fungi! Garret T. brought pictures of his cultivated mushroom bounty. Check out these lovely pink and blue oyster mushrooms! He has agreed to set up a class on cultivation and help us get started in the next 2 months. Thanks Garret!
Diane B. offered to have the next meeting at her house in June. Meanwhile, Hans B. will be taking over the data entry part of our mushroom group, now that the email list is getting so long. He is tabulating the survey results, too. If you would like to take the interest survey and have some say in what happens to our club, please contact Linda, email@example.com.
We still don’t have an official name. Many are leaning towards Central Oregon Mushroom Club (COMC), which is close to “comic” and that is appropriate considering the members we have! Also mentioned: Central Oregon Mushroom Enthusiasts (COME), but COMA seemed to be out of favor. Until there is an official vote, we’ll just go with COMC, for fun.
Getting together to hunt on a foray has been left to the individual to contact those on the membership list. The meetings are opportunities to get to know others with whom you could hunt. If you are going out to hunt and want company, you can post here and leave an email for contact. To get onto our membership list that includes your days of availability, contact Linda at the email listed above. Good luck out there!
Frank and Rebecca G. went hunting morels instead of potlucking, but were lucky enough to find a meal’s worth to accompany the asparagus and pasta and sent the sweet photo of Hunter Grace! Frank said that they found all of their morels around 3100 feet and nothing above that.
Keep checking this website and please post what you find and the approximate elevation. It keeps us all inspired.
Thank you, Jim B. for the photo and the great news that morels have been found in Central Oregon. I received this information on April 23, but have been out of town, so here is the latest breaking news from Jim:
I found these morels this afternoon on the road to Wizard Falls near the controlled burn from 2 years ago. All of these were in one area and I did not find any more, must have been my lucky day. They wanted me to find them.
Hope you get a chance to get out and hunt! Bragging rights given to those who post here!
From Dave M. on April 28: