Mushroom Foraging

The forecast: 20% chance of afternoon showers. The plan: a mushroom foraging event for twenty. The reality: it poured buckets all morning.

Rounding the corner of one of our fields I came upon a member of our foraging party standing under a large oak looking for all like the proverbial drowned rat. We had been hunting mushrooms in the forest for an hour and half in the pouring rain and no let-up was in sight. I told her to head to the house. She trooped of with half a dozen other soaked to the skin foragers. A few of us soldiered on for another hour before returning to the farmhouse.

Cindy meanwhile had many of the returnees clothed in various combinations of our work clothes, hair dryers were going, clothes spinning in the dryer, hot tea in each hand and a bottle of stouter stuff passed among the group. Lunch was laid out on the table and everyone dug in while we identified our meager finds:

One mushroom we found throughout the woods with the somewhat gelatinous shaft and the round cap was probably one of the Calostoma members. My reference “A Field Guide to Southern Mushrooms” indicates it is “of no interest as an edible”. The other common mushroom we found: salmon colored cap, white gills meeting the stalk meets most of the criteria of the Hygrophorus family. Many of these are edible. But none of my sources raved about their culinary properties.

We also found a lot of turkey tails which one of our foragers had experience with their use. Apparently this genus is prized in Asian markets as a medicinal herb used to reduce inflammation and tumors. That was kind of cool.

Anyway, our wet and bedraggled crew dried out and all claimed they had a terrific time. This claim includes the woman who jabbed a paring knife to the hilt in her upper thigh. As everyone drove off the skies had cleared to a brilliant blue spring day.

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