The rains have finally come to Eugene and with the wetness and cooler temperatures come the mushrooms. They can be found just about anywhere in all shapes and sizes. In the dirt, on logs, under the ferns – fungus is everywhere, but what is safe? If you are looking for beginner hints to identify mushrooms visit this page on AmericanMushrooms.com. If you are after the lovely golden chanterelles that are coming up in the hills all around Eugene this link will help you identify them specifically. Just remember if you are not sure what you are picking NEVER take a chance. There aren’t many look-a-likes around here, but those that are can be toxic.
Another tip for new mushroom hunters – if you are trying a specific type of supposedly ‘safe’ mushroom for the first time only eat a small portion at first. Every person can react differently and some ‘safe’ mushrooms have been known to cause vomiting, upset stomach or diarrhea in sensitive individuals.
It is recommended that you go with an experienced mushroom hunter on your first few outings. Properly harvesting mushrooms helps ensure that they keep coming back year after year. Always replace disturbed soil and make sure you cut the mushrooms at the base, pulling them out damages the mycelium. Chanterelles are plentiful if you know where to look. They are often found in hardwood forests in washes and along around of disturbed earth such as gravel roads. We’ve had far more luck in open areas that get plenty of moisture for early season Chanterelles. Last weekend we found a couple of pounds of mushrooms each west of town on some BLM land just off of a dirt road. Rumors are right now that the picking is best out toward the coast.
Also, don’t forget to dress warm and dry! It’s a jungle out there and you WILL get wet. Chanterelles like to tuck themselves up under trees and ferns that funnel them moisture.