OUTDOORS: Autumn’s arrival marks mushroom season

HEAVY RAINS THAT came with the storm that blew in last weekend served a two-fold purpose: bringing up the levels on depleted rivers, notably out on the West End, and providing a moisture boost to fungi production.

Fall is here, and that means mushroom season for fungi foragers here on the North Olympic Peninsula.

Quilcene’s Ward Norden has been scrounging pretty far afield for the tasty forest treats. Quilcene “only” received 0.4 inches of rain during the storm, while other locales saw rain totals more than an inch.

“On Monday we visited the Satsop River bottoms north of Montesano and a few chanterelles were already beginning to show,” Norden said. “That area got over 3 inches of rain.

“Mushroom hunters this weekend should be aware that Saturday marks the opening of muzzleloading deer season so be prepared to share the woods occasionally for the next week.”

I don’t advise mushroom hunting solo on your first outing. Find an experienced picker or reach out to experts to walk you through edible species.

Chanterelles rank among the most popular edible wild mushrooms. They are usually vase or trumpet-shaped with wavy gills.

This mushroom has a fruity, apricot-like aroma and a mild, peppery taste. Don’t harvest them if they are mushy or gooey.

Lobster mushrooms are good sized and orange or red in color, pretty easy to identify. And they taste delicious by themselves or when prepared as part of a pasta dish.

More than 20 different typs of Bolete mushrooms grow in Western Washington. These resemble traditional toadstool mushrooms, are spongy, and the King variety is medium to large in size with yellow-brown, red-brown or dark red caps.

Oyster mushrooms make a delicious addition to Thanksgiving stuffing recipes, and morels also are around but are more common in the spring.

Fall weather

Norden always keeps a close watch on the weather and potential patterns in the water of the Pacific Ocean.

“This fall may be interesting for storms,” Norden said. “That big red ‘blob’ of warm water is back across most of the North Pacific north of California. The red color signifies the warmer-than-normal water shown on NOAA satellite charts of ocean surface temperatures.

“While not significant biologically this season, the ‘blob’ could be significant for fall storms driven by temperature differences between winds coming off Siberia meeting that warmer-than-normal water.”

Farther south along the Equator, a La Nina pattern of colder-than-normal water has returned suddenly.

“That usually means the powerful drought in the U.S. Southwest will continue when their rainy season begins in November,” Norden said. “Hopefully, this La Nina will disappear as quickly as it re-emerged only a few weeks ago.”

More in Sports

#12 Grace Smelcer of the North Mason girl Bulldogs fights with #2 Catie Brown of the PA lady Riders Monday. dlogan
PREP SOCCER ROUNDUP: Riders rain goals on the Bulldogs

Sequim keeps pace in battle for Olympic League title

PREP VOLLEYBALL: East Jefferson spikers win over Quilcene

Forks finishes second in Pacific 2B League

New Orleans Saints' Demario Davis (56) breaks up a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks' DK Metcalf in the final minute the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, in Seattle. The Saints won 13-10. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
SEAHAWKS: Mistakes doom Seattle in 13-10 loss to Saints

Alvin Kamara and Jameis Winston were the happy beneficiaries of… Continue reading

Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group
Port Angeles' Jack Gladfelter won the Olympic League Cross Country Championships at The Cedars at Dungeness Golf Course last week and helped lead the Roughriders boys to the team title.
ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Jack Gladfelter, Port Angeles cross country

Port Angeles cross-country runner Jack Gladfelter had a pretty decent start to… Continue reading

Quilcene Rangers.
PREP FOOTBALL: Quilcene sets stage for title rematch with 59-12 win

The Quilcene Rangers got 201 yards rushing and three touchdowns… Continue reading

Peninsula Pirates
PENINSULA COLLEGE SOCCER: Women, men remain unbeaten

Men to face No. 2 Whatcom Wednesday; women’s scoreless streak up to 655 straight minutes

Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News

East Jefferson’s Logan Massie makes a 60 yard run for a touchdown during a game on Friday played against Life Christian Academy at Memorial Field in Port Townsend.
PREP FOOTBALL: Red-hot East Jefferson within reach of title

East Jefferson shut out Life Christian over the final… Continue reading

Most Read