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OfflineTwiztidsage
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It's mushroom season along the North Coast....[CA]
    #11415190 - 11/09/09 12:55 AM (8 years, 11 days ago)

November 8th, 2009 - Press Democrat

The forest was dripping wet from the morning rain but warmed by sunshine, perfect conditions for the foraging mycophiles who had come to Mendocino County for the 10th annual Wine & Mushroom Fest.



“Where are you?” Sharon Foerschler called out to an invisible mushroom after finding a “spy” mushroom that indicated a tasty porcini might be nearby.

Before long, several of the fungi were bagged and headed toward becoming ravioli stuffing.

“Wow. Oh my gosh, I’m so excited,” said her cousin, Denise Foerschler.

By the end of a half-day of guided fungus-hunting last Friday, the two South Lake Tahoe residents had collected more than 10 pounds of edible mushrooms — porcini, pigs ear, sweet bread and a few highly desirable chanterelles — under the guidance of Ryane Snow, who has been gathering mushrooms for more than 30 years.

There is a special allure to the mystery of the mushroom, bringing seekers and tasters to Mendocino County where there are more than 500 edible species. Fall marks the beginning of the wet, rainy season that nurtures fungi in dank places throughout the North Coast.

But that allure also can turn deadly for the unknowing and overeager who mistakenly pick the poisonous kind, especially the aptly named “death cap.”

Twelve years ago, Sam Sebastiani Jr. of the prominent Sonoma County wine family, died at 31 after eating lethal death cap mushrooms gathered during an outing in Sonoma County.

And in the early 1980s, more than a dozen Laotian refugees were hospitalized after eating poisonous mushrooms gathered near Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake.

Learning to identify mushrooms is a crucial first step before heading to the woods to hunt them down, Snow said.

“There are old mushroom hunters. There are bold mushroom hunters. But there are no old, bold mushroom hunters,” Snow told his small tour group as it trekked through the woods a few miles inland from the coast near Mendocino.

Snow, whose credentials include a doctorate in organic chemistry, is a self-described amateur botanist, teacher, surfer, diver, practitioner of Chinese medicine and pharmacy technician.

Death cap mushrooms — Amanita phalloides — aren’t found on the coast, but they do grow a little farther inland, Snow said.

“I’ve seen them in Boonville,” he said.

There are a number of less deadly but nevertheless toxic mushrooms found along the coast.

But the most common source of mushroom poisoning stems from eating mushrooms that become contaminated with bacteria from sitting in refrigerators for too long, Snow said. He advises tossing mushrooms after a week.

Snow also recommends against eating raw mushrooms.

Cooking can destroy bacteria and toxins that may be harbored by mushrooms. It also breaks down their indigestible cell walls to release protein.

“Mushrooms are a good substitute for meat” when cooked, Snow said.

They’re also rich in vitamins and many have medicinal uses, he said.

And they’re not just in Mendocino County.

Lately, mushroom lovers have converged on the Sonoma and Marin county coasts to pick a kind of porcini called the king bolete that are “fruiting beautifully,” said Ben Schmid of the Sonoma County Mycological Association.

Schmid, a foray leader for the 180-member group, said Salt Point State Park and secret spots at the Point Reyes National Seashore are especially popular now.

He said park rangers are enforcing a strict 5-pound per day limit and writing tickets to those who exceed it by even a pound. Fines, he said, are hundreds of dollars.

“Everybody is after them,” Schmid said of the famously misshapen fungi, which he described as looking like a well-baked loaf of bread. “They are delicious and they sell for a good amount of money.”

King bolete season runs just two weeks and is followed by butter bolete season. Chanterelles are found in Sonoma County from late October through January, he said.

Schmid also hunts mushrooms in the Sierra Nevada at undisclosed locations between 5,000 and 7,000 feet. Limits are higher in the mountains, he said, but it’s at least a three-hour drive.

“The Northern California coast does the best,” Schmid said. “The fog and rain really bring them out.”

Mendocino County’s 10-day Wine and Mushroom Fest largely focuses on their culinary potential.

Sharon and Denise Foerschler have signed up for another day of foraging that will culminate in a cooking lesson at the Stanford Inn By the Sea.

During their tour, they also spotted about 30 other types of mushrooms, about half edible but not as tasty, at least to American tastebuds. They included “milk caps”, which are red-hot to the taste, and pretty, but inedible “strawberries and cream,” which bleed a reddish fluid that can be used in dyes.

One of Snow’s favorites is the “candy cap,” which has a sweet, maple-syrup taste and smell.

When dried, they can be used in desserts, including ice cream.

“Around Thanksgiving,” Snow said, “I make a candy cap persimmon pudding.”

Staff Writer Paul Payne contributed to this report.


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OfflineAlan RockefellerM
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Registered: 03/10/07
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Re: It's mushroom season along the North Coast....[CA] [Re: Twiztidsage]
    #11415283 - 11/09/09 01:06 AM (8 years, 11 days ago)

Quote:

Lately, mushroom lovers have converged on the Sonoma and Marin county coasts to pick a kind of porcini called the king bolete that are “fruiting beautifully,” said Ben Schmid of the Sonoma County Mycological Association.





Thats true.  Got 50 pounds this weekend near santa cruz.


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OfflineTwiztidsage
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Registered: 12/05/08
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Re: It's mushroom season along the North Coast....[CA] [Re: Alan Rockefeller]
    #11415354 - 11/09/09 01:14 AM (8 years, 11 days ago)

What is your favorite King recipe, Alan?


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Offlinewowitch17
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Registered: 01/11/06
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Loc: Chile
Last seen: 1 year, 1 month
Re: It's mushroom season along the North Coast....[CA] [Re: Alan Rockefeller]
    #11416039 - 11/09/09 03:12 AM (8 years, 11 days ago)

Quote:

Alan Rockefeller said:
Quote:

Lately, mushroom lovers have converged on the Sonoma and Marin county coasts to pick a kind of porcini called the king bolete that are �fruiting beautifully,� said Ben Schmid of the Sonoma County Mycological Association.





Thats true.  Got 50 pounds this weekend near santa cruz.





sooo fucking jealous


--------------------


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InvisibleGerman Kahuna
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Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 15,798
Loc: On a Chemical Vacation
Re: It's mushroom season along the North Coast....[CA] [Re: Alan Rockefeller]
    #11416572 - 11/09/09 05:28 AM (8 years, 11 days ago)

Quote:

Alan Rockefeller said:
Thats true.  Got 50 pounds this weekend near santa cruz.



Not fair! :spank:
This year was a horrible bolete season here. The worst I've seen in years.


--------------------
"Vegetarian" [ /ˌvedʒəˈteəriən/] - Ancient slang meaning "village idiot who can't hunt, fish or ride".


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