A shelf fungus out in full force right now is the consolation prize for a failed Morel hunt, Polyporus squamosus aka Dryad's Saddle or Pheasant Back. Here's a 2 minute video showing what they look like. They're usually picked when smaller than your palm, sliced thin and sauteed with caramelized onion and garlic (or ramps, if you have them). The distinguishing feature of Dryad's saddle is the odor, which is like watermelon rind or cucumber, although (thankfully) it doesn't smell or taste like that when it's cooked. If you saute a lot of them and juice is rendered, be sure to toss it out, because some people have reported stomach upset after consuming the juice.
Tom Volk , one of this years presenters and president of the Mycological Association of America and the professor with two hearts) was recently interviewed by a reporter and quoted in a NY Times article about morels. Learn when and where to look for morels and see how a 30 minute interview can be decanted into the print journalism equivalent of a sound bite. Also not to be missed is Tom's amazing lecture he gave to medical students on his heart transplant. Tom is truly a treasure and we are so excited to have him back in West Virginia️️
Cool grandmas who want to share mushroom knowledge, teach naturalist concepts and impart wisdom will love getting this video game for their grandchildren. The price is $3.99 - less than the cost of a hipster cup of coffee. Check out the Lieve Oma game, created by Florian Veltman.
We love Asia Suler, a resident of North Carolina who writes and teaches about nature and natural healing. Her writing is so beautiful and powerful, we struggled to find a single quote to share with you. Here's a little bit about her, and a quote to entice you: "And then, in the soft distance, I heard the rush of a much madder flow. A waterfall, or a new river, pushed from the stones by our recent deluges of rain. As the sound grew, and I neared closer…I suddenly knew: in the middle of the torrent there would be a soaked log laden with reishi. Without question, without expectation, without pomp, I opened into the white water clearing, and there it was. If you listen long and hard enough, you can always hear medicine speaking." Click here for the full blog post, Mythical Mushrooms and Dark, Magic Reishi Truffles, which is followed by a RECIPE for Reishi Truffles. What more can a person possibly want? Well, samples maybe...
Add beauty to your day by watching this 36 second video of bio-luminescent mushrooms by our friend Taylor Lockwood (WVMC 2010 foray). If you're unfamiliar with Taylor's work, please visit his website. He's working on mushroom T-shirts, which should be available for purchase soon - maybe by the time you receive this email.
Here's a recipe from the NY Times for a mushroom terrine that sounds out of this world. They use a mandolin to slice oyster mushrooms paper thin, then infuse them with flavor and press them into a block. It sounds like boletes would work really well in this recipe, from a flavor and texture standpoint. We're wondering whether this would work with Dryad's Saddle, which are out in abundance right now. It doesn't seem like morels would be a good substitute, but let us know if you try. The recipe has a lot of steps, but each step is brief and the results sound like they're worth the effort. The recipe is from Dirty French restaurant, which is the hottest ticket in NYC at the moment because of innovative recipes just like this.
Even though it's no longer truffle season, truffle lovers think and talk about them even in summer, when they're out of season, the same way we talk about morels during winter. Here's an article by Eugenia Bone (from the Fantastic Fungi website) about buying and enjoying truffles. The article doesn't mention the relatively new practice of raking truffles, which is often responsible for inferior tasting (unripe or past prime) truffles. Also, truffle lovers should know that there are some really delicious truffles being harvested in the Pacific Northwest, right here in America, such as Leucangium carthusianum (black) and Tuber oregonense (white). If you buy them from trustworthy sources, you will find that they are less expensive and just as tasty as European or Asian truffles. Here's a quote from the article about truffle oil and most of the other ridiculously overpriced truffle products: "Truffle oils, butters, and salts are used as garnishes and most if not all of them are flavored with 2,4-dithiapentane, among other chemicals. There may be some bits of dried truffle in the jar, but they aren’t lending any flavor. Look for [and avoid buying any products with] labels listing truffle “aroma,” “flavor” and “essence” as an ingredient. "
BOOKS by folks we love
We will have books by our identifiers available for sale at the foray, where the authors will happily sign them just for you.
Gary Lincoff is a WVMC founding mycologist and lifetime club member. He has written several mushroom and foraging guides, but if you have to have only one mushroom book in your library, it should be the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms, which will work for you no matter where you are in the lower 48. Another of our favorites is The Complete Mushroom Hunter, which has some tasty recipes you might enjoy trying. Both will be available signed by the author at the foray!
Congratulations to another WVMC founding mycologist, Walt Sturgeon! Walt and Teresa Marrone co-authored Mushrooms of the Northeast, which teaches about 400 or so mushroom species in our region. Walt's book will also be available at the foray!
For those of you who didn't purchase Tradd Cotter's book last time he attended our foray, we will have it available again. Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation is a must have. As usual, Tradd would love to sign it for you!
We're delighted to welcome back our good friends from the Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club, Kim and John Plischke III this year. We ran out of John's book Good Mushroom, Bad Mushroom last year, but we'll try to stock more this year, so you can get your copy signed at the foray. It's spiral bound, small, and it covers regional mushrooms, so it makes a handy field guide.
We're excited to announce that WVMC founding mycologist Bill Roody just co-authored another book with Alan and Arlene Bessette. Can you just imagine the amount of fungal grey matter these three have? At WVMC, we would be satisfied knowing just what they've forgotten over the years. Their new book, Boletes of Eastern North America, is done and will be available at the foray. Many of us already have their previous collaboration in our library: North American Boletes. Bill wrote another book that we recommend as an essential for those in this area. It costs around $25 and the name says it all - Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachians.
Our friends on the left coast are going to love Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast , which Noah Siegel (WVMC 2014 foray) co-authored with Christian Schwartz. It's now available! There's a Kindle edition of this book. What's that like? Considering Noah's masterful photography skills, it must be filled with one spectacular photo after another. The Kindle is lighter to carry than the book, and just as susceptible to rain, so it's probably a good alternative as a field guide. Let us know if you try the Kindle edition, so we can share your experience.
PLEASE SUPPORT THE NORTH AMERICAN MYCOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION
Please join NAMA and support their educational and other services for the fungal community. If you are a member of WVMC, WPMC, , MAW, or any other NAMA affiliated club, the annual dues are $25.00. If you're not a member of an affiliated club, it's $30. For your dues, you'll get access to a ton of educational materials, an ecopy of Mycophile newsletter every 2 or 3 months and an ecopy of McIlvania magazine once or twice a year.
NAMA compiles info on mushroom poisonings and, whether you are a member of NAMA or not, please report any mushroom poisonings to them using this form. The whole world may benefit from your experience.
Another privilege for NAMA members is being able to attend their regional forays and their big annual foray. You do have to be a member of NAMA. Their foray fees may initially seem a little expensive, but it's really a bargain when you consider that it includes meals, lodging and whole slew of world class mushroom speakers. The biggest problem many of us face when attending is trying to decide which lecture or foray walk to attend. If only they could clone us the way Tradd Cotter (WVMC 2015 foray) clones mushrooms...
Please remember to vote, support your local farmers and small businesses, and be kind to our planet. Earth day is Friday, April 22 - exactly 3 months prior to our foray.
Don't stop now! Go to our website. Wvmushroomclub.net while you're still thinking about the foray, and reserve your spot! We look forward to seeing you there.
Happy morel season.