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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Wild mushroomer goes ornamental over Christmas

WILD EDIBLES — For Metaline Falls mycologist Drew Parker, Christmas is the season to reflect on the Return of the Fungi, as you can see in the photo above.

Meantime, would you be shocked to discover that the secular tradition of Santa Claus and the flying reindeer was based on consumption of psychedelic fungi, the Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)?  Courtesy of U.S. Forest Service scientists, read the story here, and never look at Santa the same way again!

Umatilla requires permits for serious mushroomers

PUBLIC LANDS — Mushrooms are pushing their way up through the warming spring soil in forests around the region, and pickers are heading out to greet them.

National forests generally allow people to pick mushrooms freely, but if you're harvesting more than a few gallons of fungi, you may need a commercial permit, depending on the forest.

In the Blue Mountains, the Umatilla National Forest requires a Northwest Forest Pass or equivalent to park a vehicle at many sites.

In adddition, commercial harvest permits are required for picking more than a gallon of mushrooms on the Oregon side of the Blues or more than five gallons on the Washington side.

The forest offers a 2013 mushroom guide with information on rules and tips on where to pick.

Read on for more details from the Umatilla.

Mushroom club plans Priest Lake foray

FORAGING – The Spokane Mushroom Club’s annual fall foray is set for Oct. 5-7 at the Priest River Experimental Forest based in Priest River.

Experts lead daily group hikes to identify mushrooms collect specimens for educating the groups when they convene.

Participants who can’t spend the entire weekend can join the Saturday foray, which leaves promptly at 9 a.m., and attend Saturday’s Pot Luck set for 6 p.m.

Pre-registration is required by today (Sept. 24). Cost: $25.

Lodging arrangements can be made.

Contact Lynda Foreman, (509) 368-9969, email schroomerlyn@msn.com

Great conditions for fall mushrooming

FORAGING– Mushroom foraging conditions have been near perfect with the recent rainfall followed by cooler temperatures and sunny days, according to the Seattle Times

“Shroomers are flocking to forests in search of Japanese matsutake (Armillaria ponderosa), known for their unique smell and excellent table fare,” says reporer Mark Yuasa. Other popular varieties among edible mushrooms are boletes and chanterelles.

The peak of this autumn’s foraging season appears to be a few weeks behind, but those who’ve ventured out recently are starting to see more mushrooms popping up.

Read on for more of Yuasa's report and a rule to note about harvesting matsutake.