Sunday, 17 October 2010

Fungal foray

Today I was joined by about 30 foragers on our first NT fungal foray around Tremayne Woods.  Weeks of very dry weather however meant I wasn't too hopeful of finding many interesting mushrooms, as fungi tend to favour damp muggy autumns.  Over the past few days I had scouted around some of my best foraging haunts so at least I'd have some specimens to show, but even some of my most guaranteed spots were free of any fungi.   Never mind, we were blessed with glorious weather for the walk so whilst we may not find any mushrooms, at least we'd all have a pleasant walk in the woods.

After meeting at Gear Farm and ordering our pasties, we walked down into the woods.  Whilst fungi were certainly thin on the ground, it wasn't long before our trugs and baskets began to be filled with a vast array of specimens.  Some of the younger members of the group scrambled up and down the banks to get the more inaccessible ones, whilst others spread out either side of the track searching the woodland floor and on the trunks of trees.

Most of the fungi gathered were of little culinary interest, including honey fungus, earth balls, sulphur tuft and various small non-descript specimens.  However, a few edible species were found, including shaggy parasols, amethyst deceivers, a wonderful beefsteak fungus and a single small cep.

By lunchtime we had reached a clearing at Point Field where we investigated our hoard and waited for delivery of the pasties.  Still not really enough edible varieties to feed the whole group however.  I then remembered a secret spot nearby which had never previously let me down.  A quick scramble down the bank, under a large beech tree were half a dozen very large ceps. 

We cooked a small variety of the mushrooms on a camping stove. Most of the group were brave enough to give them a try, others perhaps didn't have quite enough confidence in my identification skills!     The pasties went down well anyway.


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