We headed out for my birthday in hopes of finding a few coastal fungi in this drought.
Make sure you know the landmarks when you’re headed out foraging. This spot was a ways down the road from Nipple Rock….a landmark that the locals paint pink in honor of the boob each year.
We searched long and hard for mushrooms in the woods. It was a little frustrating to us to kick up dust in a forest normally soggy wet and teaming with thousands of fungi this time of year. This is the driest year on record since the 1850’s (not that it was dryer back then… that’s just when they started keeping a record!)
We did eventually find a few straggler chanterelles, oyster mushrooms, a shrimp mushroom and a pig’s ear.
Abalone found a pool of water (luckily) at the base of a cliff she fell off. She swam for a while to her heart’s content (too fast for a focused picture).
On the way out we passed a huge black elfin saddle, then Justin found a scaly chanterelle (not edible), and then we found a group of nice oyster mushrooms on a tree we had all walked under before.
When all was said and done our harvest was minimal in comparison to past years when we got bored of harvesting hedgehogs and winter chanterelles because there were so many of them to pick. But we still had a very fun time. I had a great birthday, and the meals to follow were fantastic!
None of us had eaten a shrimp mushroom before, and though all the features necessary to key it out were obvious, we were all skeptical. But after consulting David Aurora’s mushroom Bibles “Mushrooms demystified” and “All that the Rain Promises and More”, we took a spore print and were ready to venture a small taste (with any new food it is important you don’t eat too much in case you are allergic even if it is not poisonous).
The shrimp mushroom was great! And we are all now pondering seafood soups and chowders it might be added to.
I was so excited about our mushroom pizza I forgot to take a picture!
The next day, I did get a photograph of our venison steaks in golden chanterelle cream sauce (steaks courtesy of a friend of my brother’s girl)! I will be honest, I ate three whole steaks! Venison is my favorite meat on Earth!
Keep the old ways alive!