Saturday, August 22, 2009

Chanterelles, Oh How I Love Chanterelles

I've lived in SW Montana for over 11 years and never found a chanterelle here anywhere in this state until yesterday! I had heard they do grow over in north western Montana around Lolo Pass but I've never been there at what I would expect to be the right time.

Yesterday I decided to go check a spot I've never been to before because I've heard it's a beautiful place and it's "mushroomy". I was amazed, shocked and very pleased to find chanterelles growing all over the place. Wow, what an amazing thing to find after years and years thinking this side of the divide was too dry. Of course this has been one of the wettest summers I can remember here. We almost never get rain in August but this year we've had gully washers. So, the chants seem to really like it...lots of rain then sun breaks and HEAT! Which is what we have now. It's in the 90's as I write this.

The most interesting thing about these chanterelles, and I've found tons and I mean tons in my days of mushrooming, is their vibrant color. The chants I used to pick in California and then in WA and OR are much yellower and these are more of an electric, day glo orange...absolutely gorgeous mushrooms.

It was stifling hot yesterday and Maggie the wonder dog and I had to do quite a bit of walking to find all these. It was funny because you'd walk along for a while and find no chants then come to a huge pocket of them all in one spot.

It was one of the most memorable mushroom hunts I've had in Montana and I will never forget the first chanterelles I ever found here. The most gorgeous of any I've picked anywhere!

And I even found some more beautiful #1 prime Boletus edulis buttons:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Montana Boletes 2009

This has been one of the oddest summers here in SW Montana that I can remember in the 11+ years I've lived here and the boletes seem to be going along with it. Last year I was picking 20+ pounds each time I went and this year was more like 20 mushrooms per visit which just doesn't make sense to me but what can I say?

Usually my patch starts producing around July 8th but last year didn't start until the third week in July and then went well into the middle of August. That was pretty much the same this year also but I'm still finding some here and there.

This spot is primarily all Douglas fir trees and the elevation is over 6,800 feet asl. We've had cold snaps, lots of rain, then a little heat, then cold, rain and then heat. Yo yo weather for sure and now we are back to HOT!

I don't think I've ever seen so many slugs in the field. The slugs were eating everything like pirhana.

Look how many slugs are in this photo and the damage they did: