Saturday, April 23, 2016

4th Annual FOREST-to-PLATE Event. Signup Today!

It is time once again for my annual FOREST-to-PLATE event. This year is shaping up to be the best event yet. The record setting wildfires of last summer have created an opportunity to hunt for morel mushrooms like we have never before seen. Join us on the foray to see the destruction and glorious rebirth of nature firsthand as we comb the burned forest floors for the elusive morel mushroom. Learn an invaluable skill that you will be able to use every Spring, how to track and find morels at the burn sites.

FORAY Sunday, May 15th 11:00-5:00
Next, join us for a can't-miss, one-of-a-kind dinner that is certain to be the memory of a lifetime. Indulge in a culinary adventure that features an expansive line of wild harvested greens, mushrooms, flowers, truffles, and regional wild game prepared by amazing executive chefs and paired and with the finest local wines.

The dinner will be held Tuesday May 31st at 6:00 at the Cellar @ 317 Sherman in CDA. 

Venison steak in morel sauce (upper left). Fresh morels (lower left). Wild catch trout with mushroom ragout (lower right). Executive chef and Inland Northwest Culinary Academy instructor Joshua Martin with student (upper right).
Oregon Black Truffle Risotto

Huckleberry Shortcake

Monday, March 7, 2016

2016 Morel Season Has Begun

The first non-landscape morel found east of California. This morel was found in Texas.

To check for reported morel finds, click on the Morel Progression Map. Morels typically begin to fruit here in the inland northwest in mid to late April.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Winter Mushrooms Now Available

Some of the most versatile and unique wild mushrooms only fruit in the winter months. Two of these are yelllowfoot chanterelles and hedgehogs. There are a couple of hedgehog varieties native to the west coast, hydnum umbilicatum and hydnum repandumHedgehog mushrooms have a dense mushroom texture with an earthy, nutty, mild "sweet chanterelle" like flavor. In fact, many chefs and chanterelle fans actually prefer hedgehogs to the white or gold chanterelles. In terms of cooking suggestions, a quick saute with your favorite herbs, oil, and white wine will always work, but here are some other ideas.
Hedgehogs Hydnum Umbilicatum
"Sweet Tooth" Hedgehogs (hedgehogs on steroids) Hydnum repandum

Yellowfoot Chanterelles, also know as winter chanterelles. They have an earthy, mild fruity flavor with a delicate texture. These mushrooms work great in stir fry recipes with herbs, sauces, and vegetables, or on top of a nice piece of steak.

These mushrooms will not be around for long, so in the Spokane/CDA area please contact me to place your order today!

Friday, January 29, 2016

KREM 2: Growing Mushrooms From Windstorm Downed Trees

If you are unfamiliar with my venture to grow mushrooms from the downed trees of the windstorm, KREM 2 just did a story about it. If you happen to still have a downed tree or perhaps wood that you need to get rid of, you can contact me about removal. Here's the catch. Pine is useless. Fir is useless. If you have spruce or a deciduous tree that needs to be cut up, I can probably help. If you have already cut to firewood length, unfortunately I cannot use. I can only use rounds of certain length (3-4 ft) and specific diameter (depending on variety of tree.) So, if this describes you, a friend or family, please let me know. My goal is to put as many of these downed trees into local food production as I can. This will be a bit of a long-term project. I don't expect to be harvesting mushrooms from these logs for probably another 18 months. Stay tuned for updates, including log inoculation this early spring.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Finding Morels at the Burn Sites

The wildfires of last summer have left mushroom pickers with an abundance of land on which to hunt for morels. If you are thinking of looking for morels at the burn sites this Spring, but aren't sure where to start, the information here is designed to help you get going.

***Please note that the rules for gathering morels will vary from state-to-state and from forest-to-forest. You will need to consult your local forest ranger district for details. This is definitely in your best interest. Often times the forest rangers will have maps on hand with directions to exact places with mushroom activity. They are there to help, take advantage.***

The first thing you will want to do is identify a potential burn site. Here is the website for all active and non-active wildfires.

Use the filters to narrow your search to the state you desire. Also be sure to select "non-active" as the status and select an appropriate number of days for the max range. Once your filters are set, a list of all wildfires will be displayed. Click on any of the incidents for more information, including fire perimeter road maps. Make sure that this is a timber fire, not brush or grass. Do this by checking the 'fuels involved' portion of the incident page. For best results, the bigger the fire the better. 5,000 acres is generally a good minimum. 

Click on the 'maps' tab of the incident to find fire perimeter maps, road closure maps, and much more. Here is a fire permiter map from the Grizzly Bear Complex in the Umatilla National Forest.  
Morels fruit in the Spring only. The exact time will depend on your location, elevation, and definitely the weather conditions. Here in eastern Washington, the harvest period is generally from April through May in the lowlands, and through June or longer in the mountains and higher elevations. Please note, these are hasty generalizations. Last year's earliest local morels came in the final days of March. Here is a fun website you can reference to find where people are currently finding wild mushrooms, especially morels in the Spring. 

Here is a picture of what potential burn morel habitat looks like. Note the complete lack of greenery. When morels are fruiting, there will be small spots and patches of greens like miner's lettuce, sheep sorrel (both edible), and others.
Morels at burn sites can be fairly easy to spot, like this multi-headed specimen. Clusters like this are very common at productive burn sites.
Burn morels, morchella conica, are typically smaller than other varieties. This picture shows a couple of larger burn morel specimens.

And some small specimens.
From Gourmet Foragables: How to find and cook with wild edibles Remember to check the burn holes, especially at highly picked over locations. This video shows where you can often find the biggest mushrooms.

With a little bit of luck and and a little bit of hiking, hopefully you will be able to fill your mushroom bag very quickly. Good luck!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

3rd Annual FOREST-to-PLATE Spring Event

It's finally here! It's the 3rd annual Spring FOREST-to-PLATE Event, sign up today! Learn how to identify wild mushrooms and other edibles in their native setting. We will be hiking through the woods in search of morels, coral mushrooms, nettles, fiddleheads, miner's lettuce, cattail shoots and more.

Sign up for the foray portion of the event at the following link:

This year's dinner event is hosted by The Wandering Table. The 10 course dinner features items found on the foray in addition to regional wild game, Townshend Cellars wine paring, truffles, and more.

Seating for the foray and the dinner are both limited, make your reservations today!