So...it's mushroom month! And why not? Mushrooms are delicious, a great excuse to go into the woods, and a way to experience the thrill of a hunt with zero carnage. Let's celebrate that! In the quiet places of the Catskills and Hudson Valley we have a wide range of "fungus among-us". I always get a special thrill when I find a grouping of mushrooms on a log that's seen better days or in the amidst a field of moss; but even I was surprised by the beautiful variety one forager found in a mere 24 hour period last (you guessed it!) September. Check these lovelies out!
Now, if you want to eat what you find in the forest, you obviously have to take care; sometimes nature makes the most beautiful things dangerous! Luckily Mycologists (they study spores, molds and fungus - like Egon) Alan and Arleen Bessette have created a guide book just for us! I recommend picking up a copy if you don't have an experienced shroomer to show you the ropes (and maybe even if you do).
Our area is so rich in fungi that there is more than one organization dedicated to their appreciation and amateur study. Mycological clubs are a great resource as well as a way to meet like-minded locals. There's the Mid-Hudson Mycological Association and Connecticut-Westchester Mycological Association (COMA). Hudson Valley Magazine published this delightful article a while back about one man's journey from outdoor guide to mycological entrepreneur - his business is the first listed below. If you find you enjoy your first forays into foraging you might use him as a model. If though, you decide you'd like to taste the fruits of the forests' harvest while staying on the well-beaten path, you might try the products of the local farmers, growers and foragers below. No matter how you do it, get yourself some tasty mushrooms this September!