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CMS ENews is published monthly by the Cascade Mycological Society (CMS) from September thru May.  CMS is located in Eugene, Oregon. If you have questions, comments, or contributions for the CMS Enews, email us at newsletter@cascademyco.org. Also feel free to share the CMS Enews.
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It is Sunday morning and the humidity level has risen to 97%. That is good news! Hopefully, by the time you are reading this newsletter we will be hearing the pitter-patter of much needed raindrops. The thought of our beautiful Willamette National forest in flames is saddening. Even worse is the thought of homes and communities in danger. Some CMS members have posted online that their homes are safe so far; others do not know yet. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected. 
Quick Links - Oregon Wildfire ResourcesHow to help victims.

Be aware the Willamette National Forest and the Siuslaw National Forest are closed to all recreation and vehicle traffic. Many state parks are also closed.
In order to maintain our 501c3 non-profit status, CMS is required to conduct an annual vote of the CMS Board of Directors.  So far, only 19 of the 80 required votes for a quorum have been registered.  Please login to the CMS website here and vote; you will learn how to receive a 50% discount on your membership!
More Info Here

 
  • When: Wednesday, Sept 16, 2020, at 7:00 pm
  • Where: Online Event – CMS Youtube Channel (click to set a reminder)
When the rains come the mushrooms often come out in abundance. If you are serious about mushrooms and foraging, as Trent and Kristen Blizzard are, you will go out early and often and end up with way more fresh edible mushrooms than you can cook up and eat. So, if you do not want all those fresh 'shrooms to go to waste, what can you do with them? Come learn about some of the best edibles in the Pacific Northwest and the tips and techniques to preserve them from Trent and Kristen. Once preserved you can enjoy them in the coming year, or give them as gifts to friends and family. 
Trent and Kristen are the authors of the soon to be released, Wild Mushrooms: A Cookbook and Foraging Guide. Whether you are a seasoned forager or new to the wild and wonderful world of edible forest fungi, this book has something for you! You will find a wealth of tips and tricks for harvesting each mushroom, along with general cooking techniques and preservation methods. They endeavor to explore not only a selection of delicious cuisine and new methods of cooking these wild edibles, but the question of how to preserve and enjoy your harvests all year long. The book is also a celebration of people they have met over the years. You will find stories, tips and well-loved recipes from foragers; including some CMS members!
Register for a chance to receive a free copy of their new Cookbook
The Macrofungi of Lane County Project is awarded $1000
 
The Macrofungi of Lane County committee of CMS wrote, with Bruce Newhouse as lead, a proposal to the Daniel Stuntz Mycology Fund for $1,000 for sequencing wood chip fungi.  Many of these are "little brown jobbers" that dogs eat and people worry about getting poisoned by and that none of us know very well.  We also wanted to get some baseline data on what fungi are here in the wood chips because this is a habitat where invasive species may come in.  Finally, we thought that a project in town would be a good one for a college student or two to work on as they often don't have cars. Two students were involved, Nils Nelson (Lane Community College) and Ryan Downey (UO).  In addition to collections, they created the Woodchip fungi of Lane county  an iNaturalist project everyone has access to   .  A couple dozen woodchip fungi, found by the students and members of CMS, have recently been sent off for sequencing (there was a moratorium on sequencing from last October until August).  They also helped to compile a list of expected and confirmed woodchip fungi in Lane County (attached).  Nils and Ryan had planned to give a presentation on their work in May, but COVID derailed this plan.
Learn more about the Mushroom Festival


Radical Mycology is sponsoring a Fungi Film Fest for the fall. The Film Festival has 6 nights of showings between October 16th to October 30th. Click below for more information and to purchase tickets ($15).
More info and tickets

Fungi in the News

(AKA, a roundup of recent CMS Facebook posts)

Recipes
Lobster Mushroom Pave 


The next big biz innovation: Mushrooms - Dining, design, and construction: Mushrooms are taking over startup land. They are creating packaging, furniture, desk lamps to makeup sponges. And yes, they are creating bacon from Chicken of the Woods! - Read more at The Hustle.

Marrow of the Mountain: Defending Biodiversity in Ecuador - Today we are graced by the presence of Dr. Roo Vandegrift - queer scientist, illustrator and producer of the forthcoming documentary film Marrow of the Mountain. Roo received his doctorate in mycology from the University of Oregon’s Institute of Ecology and Evolution, doing much of his dissertation work on the ecology of fungi at Los Cedros, in Ecuador. Read about and listen on Welcome to the Mushroom Hour Podcast.

A mushroom-related brush with mortality: how John Cage fell for fungi - Cage’s love for mushrooms endured throughout his life, even after encroaching arthritis led him to give up his beloved French cuisine for a macrobiotic diet in the early 1970s. He continued to serve his beloved oysters, chanterelles and morels to his guests, “sauteing them in a little sesame oil, and occasionally adding tamari”. Read more at The Guardian.

The future is fungal: why the 'megascience' of mycology is on the rise - I cannot get enough of Merlin Sheldrake. Every one of his interviews are fascinating. His book,  Entangled Life, is described as an astonishing with revelations that can alter our perceptions of fungi for ever.It seems somehow to tip the natural world upside down. The science it relates is complex. Read more at The Guardian.

Asian Investors Back Mushlabs In US$10M Round To Scale-Up Mushroom-Based Alt Protein - Where there is investment capitol interest, there is hope for a burgeoning industry. In this case, a 2018 startup based in Germany working on the next generation of sustainable foods from mycelium. Read more at Green Queen

Why Are Mushrooms Taking Over My Social Media Feed, My Medicine Cabinet, and My Closet? Because ... who does not like mushrooms? Some products are made from glass, cotton fabric and other typical materials and just adorned with mushrooms. While some are actually made from mushrooms. Regardless, they seem to be everywhere. Read more at the New York Times.

How two new fungus species got named after the COVID-19 pandemic - Never mind that they’re not viruses. Catching the trend of cocktails called quarantinis and registered racehorse names like Wearamask, two fungal species now have pandemic-inspired monikers. In a nod to the new normal of science, both names grew out of the frustrations of trying to keep research alive in an upside-down world Read more at Science News.

Hidden webs of fungi protect some forests from drought—but leave others vulnerable - The right fungal partners can help plants survive warmer and drier conditions, according to a study reported earlier this month at the online annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America. But other studies at the meeting showed climate change can also disrupt these so-called mycorrhizal fungi, possibly speeding the demise of their host plants.Read more at Science Magazine.

A New Truffle Species Is Identified Four Decades After Its Discovery - Another new species discovery, kind of. This time a Truffle identified as being unique right here in Corvallis by Dr. Matt Trappe and Joyce Eberhart. The Truffle has been named after Dan Luoma who first found the truffle 40 years ago. Read more at Technology Networks.

 

My  Summer Vacation


Back in the day before computers, cell phones, the internet and video games dominated our existence, us youngins (a Southern colloquialism for “kids”) actually played outside during the summer. I know it sounds radical now but we really did do things outside and without the accompaniment of a cell phone or iTunes media player. As shocking as that may seem, we simply used our imagination to create all sorts of activities that kept us occupied well into the evening. And, it was important to remember at least some of those summer escapades since the first English class assignment when school started was to write an essay entitled “My Summer Vacation”. I should also mention here that we had to walk several miles just to get to school regardless of snow, rain, heat, or gloom of night. We didn’t mind and it was great physical training for kids who wanted to become one of our essential postal mail carriers after graduation.
 
While I could go on for several more pages regarding my summer experiences as an adolescent, I do want to stay current since fungi didn’t play much of a role back then. To start, I have to mention the 10 gazillion pound gorilla in the room; Covid-19. This has and is having a significant impact on all of us and greatly influencing much of what and when we do things. That said, Sandy and I love hiking in the woods and not doing so wasn’t an option. We basically focused on hiking during the week, went to less traveled areas, and always had our masks with us just in case. We started our spring hiking in the Metolius area near Sisters Oregon, keeping an eye out for moron morel mushrooms (Morchella species) and the spring bolete (Boletus rex-veris). While we did find a handful of morels, the spring boletes were in much greater abundance and growing in most places we hiked around in. Hiking in the ponderosa pine forests of Eastern Oregon is lots of fun but a day trip from Eugene to Sisters will take about 2h 15min each way. It’s good to get an early start to maximize daylight hunting time and your ability to search around different areas.
 
As our excitement for all things bolete started to fade, Marcia Peeters suggested we check out areas off of US Forest Service Rd 21, which can be picked up from Hills Creek Rd just east of Oakridge. Once on US 21 you soon start to drive along Hills Creek lake and through lots of great wooded areas waiting to be explored. We hiked part of the 6.3 mile Larison Creek Trail and will go back to fully hike it once conditions improve. We drove as far as the Sand Prairie Campground, which also has a very nice hiking trail that starts at the back of the campground. Unfortunately, conditions were somewhat dry but some of our more commonly seen Saprotrophic fungi were fruiting while actively doing their invaluable job of decomposing logs and other organic matter.
 
Once the summer kicked into high gear it was time to head for the coast and cooler conditions. When other areas of Oregon are hot and dry, sporadic coastal rain showers and foggy days can create conditions favorable for mushroom fruiting. These dainty little mushrooms are Pleurocybella porrigens or Angel Wings. Edible, well maybe but the general consensus is to avoid them due to suspicious illnesses and deaths recorded in Japan. No worries, there are many other edibles with no dubious circumstances surrounding them. One of these is the Lobster mushroom (Russula brevipes parasitized by Hypomyces lactifluorum). A two in one mushroom that starts fruiting in late summer in low moisture conditions. In fact, you will start to find several mushrooms in the Russula genus starting in late summer and continuing into the fall. One of the more sought after in this genus is Russula xerampelina or the Shrimp Russula. Just make certain of your identification with the shrimper as it can take on several colors and other Russula species can look similar. I apply a few drops of an iron (ferrous) sulfate solution to a piece of the stem which will turn the area dark green if you actually found the Shrimp Russula. Fortunately, no known Russula species in our area is deadly poisonous; but several will make you quite ill.
 
One last mushroom of interest that we found at the coast is in the polypore group. Pycnoporus cinnabarinus is more commonly called the cinnabar polypore. It’s not of any culinary value but its bright orange to red-orange color can mislead those new to mushroom hunting into thinking they may have found the conditionally edible Laetiporus conifericola, which we  commonly call chicken of the woods. I temper the edibility of chicken of the woods as it has a very limited time frame where it is both pliable and tender enough to be harvested and cooked. When you apply finger pressure near the edge of this mushroom it should be quite soft and possibly even exude liquid from the pressure. If it is dry or tough leave it alone; you have arrived too late. However, since this mushroom can be perennial, mark the spot and time you found it and go back a little earlier next year. Just make certain you have correctly keyed this mushroom out.  When fresh, the top surface will be bright orange, the underside bright yellow and covered in tiny pores. If the underside is a dull yellow or white that is also an indicator you’ve arrived too late. Believe me, that has happened to all of us. For your safety, when trying any new mushroom it is strongly recommended that you follow these CMS edibility guidelines.
 
On a final note I’d like to leave you with a warning. During my decade long obsession  of hunting for cool mushrooms I’ve noticed a change in my body form. My almost constant leaning downward, scanning the ground for fungal treasures, has lead me to believe I’m regressing to a more primitive form of Homo sapiens. Believe it or not, in this picture I am standing erect or at least my new version of erect. I’ve also noticed I’m doing a lot more grunting and finger pointing rather than coherently speaking. Recently, I’ve acquired quite an affinity for club like shaped pieces of wood. Hopefully, I’m not on the verge of acquiring a full flush of ridged body hair. I am calling this bizarre body-regressive affliction Neanderthal-20. Fortunately, I don’t think it’s an airborne contagion.
 
Take care and maybe do some vertical body stretching once in a while.
Ron

Below are upcoming mushroom events in the PNW, not sponsored by CMS.
 As of publishing date all of these events are open for registration; that may change. Please take caution in making a decision as to the safety of attending an event.


October 18, 2020 (Ashland, offered by the Siskiyou Field Institute) - Edible Mushrooms of the Southern Cascades - taught by CMS Member Mike Potts. Fee includes a classroom intro. and a foray. This class fills fast, more info here  ($63-$70). 

October 19-25, 2020 (Port Townsend, WA) - The 2020 International Fungi & Fibre Symposium - An early notice for this one since I do not know how often it is held in the USA, or how fast it fills up - Registration is now open. More info here ($1100-$1450).

November 14, 2020 (Siskiyou Field Institute in Selma OR) Edible mushrooms of the Siskiyous - taught by CMS Member Mike Potts. Fee includes a classroom intro. and a foray. This class fills fast, more info here ($63-$70).

November 20-22, 2020 (Siskiyou Field Institute in Selma OR) Exploring the world of Fungi. Taught by Scott Loring. Come search for and learn to identify edible, poisonous, and other mushrooms above the ground and truffles below in a variety of Siskiyou locations in Josephine and Del Norte counties. An emphasis will be placed on truffles.  Time will be split between field and classroom/lab activities.     More info here ($157-$175).

December 6, 2020, (Eugene Textile Center) - Dying with Mushrooms - Come explore mushroom dyes with mycologist and dyer Cheshire Mayrsohn. We will extract color from several common, local dye mushrooms. You will take home a spectrum of yarn samples, literature to carry on your own experiments, and two mushroom dyed silk scarves. More info here ($80).

The mission of the Cascade Mycological Society is:
  • to study fungi;
  • to educate members and the public about fungi identification and ecology;
  • to promote conservation of fungi;
  • to promote health and safety in the gathering and consumption of edible fungi,
  • and to have fun!
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