Well, here we are in the middle of August already. I hardly know where the summer’s gone and the weather already feels like September…not that I’m complaining. Over the past three days or so, we’ve probably gotten 4 to 6 inches of rain here in northwestern North Carolina. This is a good thing as far as our gardens are concerned. Also, we were curious to see how much our pond would fill up. This is our first significant rain since we installed the pond liner about a month ago..
But perhaps our biggest curiosity was the mushrooms. Ever since Tasha discovered porcini coming up down by our duck pond, we’ve been on the lookout for edible mushrooms and where they tend to grow. And while we did find some more porcini over the early summer, they were mostly too far gone for us to eat after we found them and we haven’t had much rain until now.
We made some friends over the summer–Matthew and Jenna of Gnomestead Hollow Farm and Forage–who are avid mushroom afficionados, foragers and growers, and they confirmed some of our finds were indeed edible. Tasha was sure on the porcinis, but we’d never seen a black-staining polypore before, nor did we know it is delicious.
So, over the past couple days we’ve been roaming the back woods, looking in all the usual places in anxious anticipation of massive fruitings. We saw a few porcinis starting in one or two patches yesterday, but today Tasha found several two-colored boletes and several small to medium porcini. By the end of the day, they were popping up in places we’d never seen them before, so we took a walk in the woods.
We found more porcini and two-colored boletes than we’ve ever found before on a foray. There was nothing like the massive profusion of tens or hundreds of mushroom caps magically appearing, but still we found enough to make a nice pasta or risotto with, and this is only day one after the rains.
We saw quite a few recent porcini starts that we’ll be keeping an eye on over the next few days. Thus far, we’ve identfied five distinct patches where we almost always find mushrooms when the conditions are right, and four of them are porcini. Since we’re rather casual mushroom foragers and just getting started at this, we’re pretty happy with our haul today. And now we have a reason to look forward to rainy days.
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