I’m no stranger to hard work or long days. Growing up in a mushroom family, hunting for mushrooms meant two things – Enjoyment and Food. My Mother being a German refugee and broke as a young family, we all turned to foraging to augment the household stock.
Now I do it for pleasure and because I’m a chef. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been mushroom hunting, you’ll always be excited for a new find. This season being very personally challenging with a fractured leg beginning of May… then Pneumonia for what felt like forever( which I’m still getting over), I’ve only made it out twice to my favorite spot ever this year.
It’s 2 hours north of Kingston and a 6 hour Hike. 3 hours in… 3 hours out. Tracking the weather… today was the day. I left at 7 am to make the trek, my head filled with hopefuls. It’s been brutally dry everywhere but the radar showed this area had thunderstorms 2 days straight 2 days ago. My Spidey senses going nuts, I packed the car and got the heck out of dodge. I needed to be alone in nature so badly. I’m very much a introvert but do very much enjoy passing on my knowledge with classes and Airbnb experiences. These days on my own recharge me in a way I don’t think very many would understand and I try to schedule them for myself when I can.
Back to ground zero – the very property that 3 years ago I had my wildlife interaction with a Bobcat. Not a hungry Bobcat as I had found its recent kill ( a fawn). Looking up from the kill to see a full grown Cat looking right back at me. I can still see his eyes, so beautiful, the tuffs of hair on his ears moving with the breeze. His silence in his observation of me. Paws the size of side plates, this cat followed me for 2 hours. A experience only for the unrattled. I knew I was out of his territory when I heard the birds sing and the chipmunks chatter. I’m back there knowing my mushrooms are in the same place and the Cat… most likely moved on. I carried Bear Spray, non the less, just to be sure. It’s also Bear country, so one can never be too over prepared. I also carry 2 knives – one for mushrooms and one large hunting knife.
Today turned out to be Black Trumpet Day. Chanterelles in weak supply and dismal when found. No Cinnabar chanterelles ( they love water… lots of rain). No real Boletes either. Found a few of my favorite though – Old Man of the Woods ( Serious YUM). A pound of Lobster Mushrooms and 3 very lonely Hedgehogs.
When looking for Black Trumpets it should be noted that they can be very different looking from each other…. and EVERY book you’ll ever buy you will not show this . So following is a break down of Black Trumpets as they come and what they look like. It should be noted THAT all of the following pictures are from 3 flushes. 2 right beside each other, 1… 10 kilometers later (I’ll point out which mushrooms came from where.)
Spotted and fawn in colour. Most common Black Trumpet
It’s surprising how many of these guys can make up a 20 pound find. They’re super light and my photos show no justice. My photos also don’t show just how many I found. On top of all the mushroom finds I also acquired almost 2 pounds of my absolute favorite wild herb… woodruff. The smell of it is the most intoxicating thing I’ve ever come across and this year is a bumper year for Woodruff 🙂
After picking through them all after getting home I had a lot of little bits. They notoriously break apart easily. Those bits went on Pizza. A Béchamel White Pizza… loaded with cheese. OMG it was so good.
Until you’re comfortable and knowledgeable with the different flavor profiles of each wild mushroom. I fully suggest using a food platform that you’re used too. Simplicity is key. Integrate new finds into your own menu. If you’re unsure… I’m one email away to natural food confidence 🙂
Much Nature Love …. Ruthie