Part of Hank Shaw‘s recent visit to UO was a mushroom foray to the coast with local wildlife ecologist and co-founder of the Cascade Mycological Society Peg Boulay. Though Hank and Peg were able to score some fascinating edibles, beginners like me foraged for chanterelles and king boletes (aka porcini), very common in early November, as it was a tad too early for matsutake. Sadly, we struck out on all but the last, elderly kings and a few chanties.
We did find some rather lovely non-edibles, like these purple coral mushrooms that spring up from the soil and the poisonous red spotted Amanita muscaria, also known as the fly agaric, also known as every single kid’s picture of a mushroom.
Hank and Peg were great guides: Peg made sure we all had a good lesson in mushrooms from the samples we found, and Hank pointed out edible wild plants we might use in the future. I have to say, too, that our group was rather dapper.
It’s thrilling to experience our unique and diverse ecosystem in Lane County, which stretches from east of Eugene to the coast. And I have to say I’m rather enamored of these little strange fungal growths. There’s something anthropomorphic about them, no?
The thrill of the hunt also unexpectedly brought out the bargain shopper in me, scouring the floor (literally) for the jackpot find. It also reminded me that life surprises us when we least expect it with a tiny bit of hope that keeps us going. For you never know what you’ll find.