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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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 Tribute to Freeman Rowe

9/28/1930 - 10/7/2020
We are so happy our dear friend and mentor Freeman Rowe was able to reach his 90th birthday as he wished. However, we were saddened to hear about his passing just 9 days later. This years Virtual Mushroom Festival will be dedicated to Freeman, the founder of the Mount Pisgah Mushroom Festival and the inspiration for the creation of the Cascade Mycological Society.  You will find a full tribute to Freeman on the CMS website (button below), and you can leave your own tribute here.
Tribute to Freeman Rowe
  • When: Wednesday, October 21, 2020, at 7:00 pm
  • Where: Online Event – CMS Youtube Channel (click to set a reminder)

Joint meeting with the Native Plant Society of Eugene - Emerald Chapter

Plants are fascinating. Fungi are fascinating. But for sheer entertainment value, it’s difficult to beat plants plus fungi. Fungi have been associated with plants since plants first colonized the land and are requisite partners of almost all plants. Andy will discuss the varieties and natures of these relationships, with plenty of examples from the Pacific Northwest.

About the Speaker

Andy MacKinnon. Andy is a forest ecologist who lives in Metchosin, BC.  His recent research interests include ecology of BC’s ectomycorrhizal fungal species. He was lead BC scientist for Environment Canada’s 2017 ranking of our province’s threatened and endangered fungal species. Andy has taught rainforest ecology field courses in Bamfield and Tofino (for the University of Victoria) and Haida Gwaii (for UBC). He has also taught mushroom identification courses in Tofino (for the Rainforest Education Society) and in Victoria. He is co-author of six best-selling books about plants of western North America, and co-author of the Royal BC Museum Handbook “Mushrooms of British Columbia” (anticipated date of publication: June 2021). He is past-president of the South Vancouver Island Mycological Society (SVIMS), and an enthusiastic participant, speaker and field trip leader for various mushroom festivals in southwestern BC each autumn.

The Festival Mycoblitz is Underway

There are lots of Prizes and we need your Help!



As of this afternoon we are at 162 species, a far cry from our festival record of 539 species found and identified in 2019. Anyone with a camera or a smart phone can get involved. It is actually easier than lugging around a bunch of mushrooms in a basket. Just find a mushroom, snap a picture, specify what mushroom you think it is (just say fungi if you do not know) and upload to INaturalist.  As long as your location is within the boundaries (roughly Lane County), and the dates (Oct 16-24) of the Mycoblitz, your entry will automatically be looked at by our expert mycologists waiting to identify your finds. Once 3 experts verify the identity, it will be included in the official counts. For more instructions check out the Mycoblitz page on the CMS Website or on INaturalist.

The Virtual Mushroom Festival is this Sunday!



You will be able to view the festival at the Mount Pisgah Arboretum website, on the MPA Facebook page, or the MPA Youtube Channel.
Learn more about the Mushroom Festival

Join the West Coast Rare 10 Challenge



Have you ever come across a mushroom that you have never seen before and wondered what it is? Perhaps it is one of 10 rare fungus on the west coast. The Fungal Diversity Survey (FunDis), formerly the North American Mycoflora Project, has pulled together some fabulous educational pamphlets on these mushrooms and has created an initiative to document occurrences of the rare 10. The initiative covers the West Coast - from California all the way up to Alaska - and runs from October 15, 2020 to March 31, 2021.
More about the Rare 10 Challenge

Fungi in the News

(AKA, a roundup of recent CMS Facebook posts)

Recipes

Mushroom Buildings; The possibilities of using Mycelium in Architecture I love seeing fungi related information in major publications. The more people know about the many ways that the natural world of fungi can help solve the many man made problems of the world; the better off we are. Read more at ArchDaily
 
Drawing during COVID times maintains mental health On the 14th of March I began serious social distancing due to COVID-19 and on the 23rd the State of Oregon locked down. I had been wanting to start a practice of doing a sketch or painting every day, and thought well, why not now? In preparation for a sketching workshop in May I had just bought a Stillman & Birn Nova three-color sketch book and some Neocolor II pastels to go along with my Pilot G-2 pen and watercolors. Read more at Fundis.org

We have been hearing about clothing and accessories made from mushroom leather for several years now. Well, it seems like the reality is finally here. Some major players - Adidas, Lululemon, Kering and Stella McCartney - are now joining the mycelium revolution! Read more at The New York Times


Amen grows carbon-negative mycelium packaging to ship its candles. A range of candles by French brand Amen will be delivered in carbon-negative packaging made from mycelium and agricultural waste. Read more at dezeen.com


Magic moment: Oregon could be first to legitimize psilocybin therapy. In November, Oregon voters will decide whether to make it legal for licensed service providers to provide psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic use. If Measure 109 passes, Oregon will be the first state to legitimize the use of psilocybin for medical purposes. Read more at streetroots.org 
 
When the West Coast wildfires are out, can mushrooms help with the cleanup? When the worst wildfire season on record in the West finally subsides, it will give way to another potentially devastating environmental crisis: toxins from charred and melted plastics, electronics, and other household materials leaching into watersheds, endangering residents, agriculture, and ecosystems. Read more at Fern's AG Insider


How Should I Cook You, My Dear Mushroom?

After a long day hunting and identifyDeer with Message - Compressed.jpging edible mushrooms, you’re finally back home and ready to cook something up. You are really excited because you’ve found a good edible you haven’t tried before. Of course, before you start envisioning recipe options there is always the need for a good mushroom cleaning. The two common methods are wiping your mushrooms clean or placing them under running water and giving them a thorough scrubbing. Sandy and I always opt for the water cleaning treatment. Many of the mushrooms we find are typically too mucky to just wipe down and God only knows what creatures may have taken a whiz or something worse on them. Besides, most mushrooms are more than 90% water already so a few more drops ain’t gonna hurt them. In any event, what I have found to be of greater importance is, will you even like this new mushroom and how should it be prepared?

Let me hearken back to a time when we brought home our first lobster mushroom. It was certainly no quick whiz bang job to clean up this deer rascal of a mushroom. I wanted to run it through the dishwasher but Sandy said she would clean it up in the sink. Then, I cut it into chunks, tossed it into a skillet with onions, peppers, and broccoli florets and steamed the whole thing with the lid on until the broccoli was just tender.

To my suIMG_1051.JPGrprise, instead of seeing a little broth when I added the precooked rice, the pan was almost completely dry. Where had all the moisture gone? Well, glad you asked. The chunks of lobster mushroom soaked up every drop of moisture which made them soft, soggy and gave them the mouth feel of an old rubbery tasteless potato that had seen far better days. Subsequently, I had to remove all the lobster chunks and replace them with some frozen sautéed chanterelle mushrooms from an earlier outing. This “bad choice” cooking fiasco should have been a valuable teaching moment for me but apparently it wasn’t.

Not long after “Looser Lobster Gate” I also made a humdinger of a mistake the first time we brought home Matsutake mushrooms. While there IMG_0174.JPGare various opinions for describing exactly what this mushroom smells like, it is quite pungent with a very robust aroma. That being the case, you may think I would have taken the time to mull over the best way to prepare this highly aromatic mushroom. Oh contraire mon ami, no forethought required on my part as it was going to be pasta with a medley of tried and true edible mushrooms featuring the Matsutake. Everything went as planned, the table was set, the parmesan cheese was grated, the pasta was served, and Voilà, the pasta dish tasted exactly like Matsutake smells. It overwhelmed everything and not in a good way. Although, the kalamata olive bread was quite good and who doesn’t like bread with a little schmear of peanut butter and strawberry preserves for dinner.
As they say,Cat Mushroom.jpg the third time’s the charm and apparently I needed a third time. There is an amazingly dense and large mushroom commonly called the Cat mushroom or Mock Matsutake (Catathelasma ventricosum). This mega sized mushroom being quite common and listed as edible made it a natural for our list of mushrooms to try. Having destroyed two previous meals I decided to just take a few thinly sliced pieces from the cap and sauté them in a neutral oil (like canola) and unsalted butter to aid in giving them a nice golden hue. After 35 minutes of sautéing the slices were still tough as leather. So, I called Marcia Peeters for advice and she recommended boiling the mushroom first and then sautéing it. After 30 minutes of boiling and 35 minutes of sautéing, it was still tough as leather. It also had this persistent, unpleasant metallic flavor. While disappointed with the outcome I was quite pleased that no rice dish or pasta meal had been ruined by the Cat mushroom. I only had a large pot, a sauté pan, and a slightly grease stove top to deal with. 

I had finally learned what now seems so obvious that dry sautéing a previously untried mushroom without any added seasoning is the best way to check its desirability and help determine what recipes it might do well in, if any. As for the Cat mushroom, no recipe or cooking method could make this mushroom palatable. The Matsutake, while beloved by some is also on our “not interested” list. And before I get 10,000 dislikes and dozens of “you need to use it in an Asian recipe” emails; we tried it, didn’t like it, ain’t gonna eat it. On a positive note, I finally found a way to cook the Lobster mushroom that we both enjoy. Slice it thinly, apply an ample amount of mesquite seasoning and fry it crispy like well cooked bacon. As vegetarians, it’s a great bacon substitute and makes a wonderful Bacon Lettuce & Tomato, or in this case Lobster Lettuce & Tomato sandwich.
 
Happy mushroom hunting, stay safe, and good luck with your recipes.
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.


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).
 

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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