Saturday, September 27, 2014

Gathering Provincetown's Wild Mushrooms

Some beautiful, big mushrooms await those who pursue them.
Provincetown's annual mushroom harvest is underway out in the Provincelands. I met these folks, who had travelled here from New York just to gather some of the wild mushrooms that can be found in the forests and at the edges of the dunes at this time of year. There were four of them, hiking the hillsides and cutting mushrooms as they found them. Mushrooms need to be cut from the plant at the base of the stem so the root remains in place, allowing it to continue to sprout more mushrooms later on.
Of course, not every mushroom found amongst the trees and shrubs in these sandy little hillsides will be of the edible variety. You must know exactly what you're doing if you intend to pluck this delightful fungus as you hike.
The Twin Eagles Wilderness School has a website to help you identify wild mushrooms. And David Fischer, an expert on the ecology and identification of wild mushrooms, has a wealth of information for you at americanmushrooms.com. You'll find all the basics, and some more advanced topics relating to safely gathering these delicious morsels, along with a couple of great videos, although they play some really cheesy new-agey music in the background while you watch a slide show of stunningly beautiful wild mushrooms. This site also offers a number of books on foraging for fungi.
Read my blog post Gather Ye Mushrooms While Ye May, written last autumn when conditions were similar to this year's, about finding these elusive delicacies on the outskirts of Provincetown.

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