The spring morels failed to appear in this area in numbers sufficient for anything but hunting for the table.
Rumors of an Alaskan harvest abound.
The spring/summer Boletus edulis harvest seems to be promising with reports of commercially harvestable quanties collectable.
The early chanterelle harvest has started and some are available now!!
The Tricholoma magnavelare buttons should be starting momentarily.
(The info below was updated October 19, 1996)
The weather dried up and there were only a few fresh chanterelles available. There were a few Lobster Mushrooms to be had in the lower Cascades. The Lobsters were Russula brevipes parasitized by Hypomyces lactiflourum and were very tasty. Make sure that the host mushroom is not a poisonous one if you are going to try this mushroom.
September started out slowly for chanterelles as there was little rain.
My friend Jerry Defoe and I took some local chefs with us to harvest chanterelles on a couple of days in the third week of September and we got a couple of five-gallon buckets each on those trips. The chanterelle season was in full swing by this time but a lack of rainfall allowed only a few specimens to fruit in each colony in the patches.
The Lobster Mushrooms were still around but in less numbers than this time last year. The lack of rain caused a break in the fruiting cycle and only old, nasty specimens full of worms were available for a while.
Jerry and I went to a friend's property at about 4500 feet on the East side of the Cascades in the third week of September. I usually find at least a bucket of Matsutakes there but it was so dry and the freezing level was so high that we found only one speciman. It was reallllllyyyyyy goooooood!!!!! The number of pickers that we saw in the Crescent Lake area (mostly Southeast Asians it would seem) was amazing. There must have been ten mushroomers for every mushroom.
October is a great month for chanterelles around here usually. It started out okay but has turned out to be a heavy fruiting in both theCascades and the Coast Range. I harvested one patch on a neighboring tree farm on the first weekend of the month and got seven buckets. Jerry and I went back there on the next Friday and picked for two days. They were growing that fast. Many of the patches that I have been harvesting since I started in the late '70s were harvested this year. Many others were thinned. This gave me time to search out some new patches with very good results. Mid to late October is the best time to search out the patches as they are at their peak.
Willamette Industries has purchased the Mollala River Tree Farm (for lack of a better description- those that know it will recognize my reference) from Cavenham Forest (Rapers... ummm....) Industries. Although Cavenham ripped and ran with most of the available timber, there is still hope for the future of this property as Willamette is one of the best tree farming companies operating in Oregon. They have a fairly long harvest cycle and manage their lands with the future in mind. I guess having the management residing near the forest instead of in a high rise in the financial centers makes a real difference. Willamette still will not open the land to the public as it was eight to ten years ago when Crown-Zellerbach owned it (who can blame them as it is close to the Portland area and many citiots abused the land- hacking up trees, poaching, dumping their garbage [including crank lab refuse] and using it as a place to commit crimes from pot growing to housing shallow graves [or as in the case of Dayton Leroy Rodgers- no graves at all just a dumping ground]) but they are now allowing hiking and hunting on their land.
The third week of October brought us Matsutakes on the west side of the Cascades and in the Coast Range. This week should bring on a heavy fruiting (hopefully as good as last year!!!) as the temperature just dropped to the range where the Matsutakes love to grow. The price for Matsutakes should raise here for a while as the beds in B.C. just got snowed out (as are the higher beds on the east side of the Cascades) until they start coming off in the Southern Oregon Coastal Range.
The King Boletes (Boletus edulis) are fruiting on the east side of the Coast Range again this year!!! I have already collected six buckets of them this week and the colonies that didn't sustain heavy damage from certain pickers last year are coming back very well. It really is disgusting to arrive at my favorite King patch to find the moss all raked to the bottom of the hill. It negitively impacts the resource. It is really bad when they fruit two years in a row (which is unusual) and the moss gets ripped up so soon again. I just go around the edges and collect quite a few in the brush. We are also finding another beautiful bolete almost as robust as the King but not as large (nor as wormy!!). It has: olive-brown spores; white gills when young that get yellow as it gets more mature; brown net-looking reticulations on the stalk; a longer almost root-like stem; it is larger than the B. mirabilis and smaller (only slightly) than the B. edulis (many local pickers have been mistaking the buttons for B. edulis but the stalks are not as white and the cap is just slightly smaller- the stem doesn't grow as large proportionally as the B. edulis when it is mature); has a smooth, cinnamon to tan colored cap; and it grows in mixed conifers (in chanterelle patches:-). The flesh doesn't stay as firm in age as long as the B. edulis but the flavor holds well (I have been eating them for several years). The gills don't turn green or blue but instead turn the color of the spores (as do any chanterelles that are under them in the bucket).
The Craterellus cornucopioides haven't shown up yet this year but the Canterellus infundibuliformis started to grow last week.
The chanterelles held on until mid-December this year. There was a commercial buying station that was open until December 11 this year. They closed after several nights of freezing temperatures. Excellent hedgehogs were still coming out of the forest at that time. They may still be growing but with the end of the commercial chanterelle season I will not be able to get good reports from other collectors (I am engaged in my truffle collection and progagation projects at this time so I don't get into the chanterelle areas). I saw few Craterellus cornicopioides in the area this season. The Boletus edulis came on for about two weeks or so but due to heavy rain for lengthy periods of time, they stopped fruiting. The white matsutake crop this year in the Coast Range was rather small compared to last season. I feel that this was also due to the extended rainy periods. They came off rather well (but very soggy and filled with worms) on the west slopes of the Cascades.
1995 Was a Great Year For Mushrooms!
This has been a great year for many of the prized edible
fungi locally. The Cantharelles sp., Boletus edulis, Tricholoma
magnivelare, and numerous other of my favorite fungal foods
fruited in large numbers all over the region. The Morchella season
was fair here in the Willamette Valley.
During July, I went to the McCall, Idaho area and picked several
varieties of Morels where there had been a forest fire. Some
friends stayed there the whole summer, starting in June
and picked until the middle of September.
The Tricholoma magnivelare crop in the Cresent Lake area
in Southern Oregon was only outnumbered by the number of commercial
mushroom pickers (from all over the globe it would seem). At times at
Cresent Junction, a collection of campgrounds, a video store, and two
gas stations/grocery stores, I would estimate that there were at
least 500-600 pickers selling their day's collections at once.
Despite that, I managed to find enough Matsutakes to spice up my salads.
The Matsutakes also made a good showing this fall on the Coast, in the Coast Range, and in the Cascades.
The Craterellus cornucopioides, Horn of Plenty, one of the Black Chanterelles
are very tasty and are available some years from late October until into December.
These were collected in the Coast Range in late October.
Here are pictures of various species of morels from the spring of 1995.