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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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  • When: Wednesday, December 16, 2020, at 7:00 pm
  • Where: Online Event – CMS Youtube Channel (click to set a reminder)

Explore mushrooms in a new way with Mycological art. Join CMS for two presentations for our December meeting. The first by Dr. Roo Vandegrift on Scientific Illustrations. Roo will demonstrate the art of ink pen stippling to draw a morphologically accurate depiction of a Marasmius oreades, the Fairy Ring mushroom. Next, Cheshire Mayrsohn will explore the rainbow of dye colors that can be extracted from the mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest. She will then demonstrate the process from start to finish by dyeing fibers with the Phaeolus schweinitzii, the Dyers Polypore, to create yellow, green, and gold yarn.

Dr. Roo Vandegrift is a queer scientist and illustrator. He received his doctorate in mycology (the study of mushrooms and fungi) 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. He has published peer-reviewed research in internationally acclaimed journals such as MicrobiomeBiotropica, and the Journal of Tropical Conservation Science. Most recently, he was awarded a National Geographic Explorer grant to coordinate a multi-disciplinary, international expedition to expand knowledge of the biodiversity at the Los Cedros Biological Reserve. He is currently the Producer for the forthcoming documentary film Marrow of the Mountain, about mining and conservation issues in Ecuador. Read more on that subject below ...

Cheshire Mayrsohn – The Lichen Display at the Mount Pisgah Arboretum Mushroom festival launched Cheshire’s interested in dyeing fibers using mushrooms and lichens. Cheshire provides for and helps staff the Lichen display on behalf of Northwest Lichenologists.   She was often asked the question – Can you dye with lichens? This question led Cheshire to explore how to use lichens, mushrooms and plants for dye. Over ten years later she has become a local expert on dyeing with mushrooms and lichens; offering classes through the Eugene Textile Center and giving talks at Mushroom Festivals and Forays throughout the Pacific Northwest. After dyeing yarns, she then knits them into hats and scarves. Cheshire is a retired botanist for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a founding member of the Cascade Mycological Society (CMS), and its current President.
 

Update on Roo's Marrow of the Mountain project 
 
CMS Scholarship recipient Dr. Roo Vandegrift is now back in Ecuador to complete filming for the documentary Marrow of the Mountain, for which Roo is the film producer. You can keep up to date on Roo and his film crews activities on the update page of their Kickstarter campaign.

You can also contribute to the Kickstarter campaign. As a bonus, Roo is offering up the original artwork from the video presentation he did for the 2020 Virtual Mushroom Festival; "Scientific Illustration of the Fairy Ring Mushroom". The illustration is pictured here to the left - kind of - this picture was captured from the video, so the quality is not as good as the actual drawing.

If you are willing to contribute $100 to the Kickstarter campaign, you can be the new owner of this illustration. If you are interested, please send an email to newsletter@cascademyco.org. The first person to email me and contribute to the campaign will receive the drawing.

Fungi in the News

(AKA, a roundup of recent CMS Facebook posts)


 

What's ice cold, creamy, and reeks like maple syrup? - Candy cap mushroom ice cream. It’s probably the easiest, most approachable thing to make with candy caps ever, as well as one of the tastiest. If you’re not familiar, candy caps are a type of Lactarius or milk cap mushroom with a special flavor very unique in the mushroom world. Read more at Forager Chef


An article about the safest mushrooms to forage - however, written perhaps by a Midwesterner as the habitats are not indicative of the PNW. We do not have the Maitake and Lion's Mane is rare here in Oregon. So, I would substitute the Lobster for the Maitake and the more common Goats Beard for the Lion's Mane. Read more at Field & Stream


Trees appear to communicate and cooperate through subterranean networks of fungi - What are they sharing with one another? By analyzing the DNA in root tips and tracing the movement of molecules through underground conduits, Suzanne Simard has discovered that fungal threads link nearly every tree in a forest — even trees of different species. Read more at NYTimes

The Marvelous and Mysterious Matsutake - Hunting the mystical matsutake each fall in the Oregon dunes has become a tradition for Trent and Kristen Blizzard of Modern Forager. Last year they found matsutake in Colorado for the first time and had a blast immersing themselves in cooking them. Of coarse they wanted to share their experience. Read more at Modern Forager
 
Paul Stamets talks about his research with the virus fighting Agaricon mushroom found in old growth forests. Stamets stresses he never picks agarikon mushrooms when he finds them. They are too valuable alive. He simply takes a small sample to culture them for further testing. Read more at Canada's National Observer

Take a Walk on the Wild Side
 
How many times have you been out hunting for a few particular mushrooms while stepping past other edibles that we just seem to thumb our nose at? You know the usual suspects; slippery Suillus, puffy Puffballs, Wooly Pine Spike, better kicked than picked Brevipes, and let’s not forget the hideous Gomphidius. Some of these, and others, are usually designated as being obscure, trivial mushrooms to be ignored by more sophisticated mushroom pickers or are quickly dismissed by culinary aficionados. Some in this fungal group have even been ridiculed by several mushroom book authors. While a few mushroomers have ventured into the domain of these mostly ignored fungal misfits, most have chosen not to take a walk on the wild side of mushrooming. I know, I once was one of those discerning foragers, only hunting for top-shelf, big-game, tried and true mushrooms. Then, Covid-19 changed everything. Actually it didn’t but it sounds more dramatic that way. The truth is, Sandy and I were out mushroom hunting, finding nothing, when we came across this lowly pair of Gomphidius mushroom.

We remembered Lee Yamada telling us he had tried and enjoyed some of these mostly overlooked toadstools, especially when other mushrooms were scarce. So why not, we had nothing to lose but our taste buds and better judgment so we picked them. While we first thought this might be the Rosy Slime Spike (Gomphidius subroseus), after extracting one of them, it did not have the yellow coloring at the base of the stem typical of this species. On closer observation we determined it was Smith’s Slime Spike (Gomphidius Smithii). In any case, the one constant with this genus is the word “Slime”, and this one lived up to its namesake. Interesting, this pair of slime guys were growing right next to an old Suillus, also well know for its slimy character. Maybe slimy mushrooms just like hanging out together.

Well, actually Gomphidius species are parasitic fungi and their host genus is Suillus. As Forrest Gump would say, “slimy is as slimy does”. Smith’s Slime Spike is known to be parasitic on Suillus Lakei commonly called the Western Painted Suillus, a quite attractive mushroom when fresh. Parasite or not, we decided to pick these two mushrooms and put our aristocratic pride aside and give them a try.
 
IMG_5267.JPGBeing a different kind of mushroom, you don’t want to just scrub them a little under cold running water, you first want to de-slime them. This is actually an easy process as the thin slime layer will easily peel away from the cap and quickly stick to your fingers. You officially have what I like to call Gomphidius fingers and can now more fully relate to what this mushroom has to wear on its cap every day. The difference between the original and de-slimed cap is quite remarkable. In the photo to the right, you can see the slimy cap in the foreground and the de-slimed half-cap with its duller look in the background. That squiggly stuff in the photo is part of the slime removed from your fingers, which was formerly on the cap. After de-sliming the other cap it was time to rinse them off and take them to the chopping block. It’s best to keep the slices thin as they will cook faster and more evenly. I’ve found that thicker slices brown nicely on the outside but will leave the inside with a more gummy, pork fat texture which I find far less appetizing. 
 
The final step is to place them in the sauté pan after heating up a little oil and butter. I keep a lid on the pan to let them cook for awhile in the oil, butter, and water the slices exude. After about 10 minutes, remove the lid, let the liquid evaporate and the browning process will begin. You can cook them to any level of doneness you like but I’ve found that a little golden brown crispiness really brings out the flavor and makes for a more enjoyable texture.
 
Believe it or not, this once slimy mushroom was actually quite good. It had a pleasant mild mushroomy flavor without any bitterness or any other revolting traits that we could detect.

This experience has certainly opened us up to trying other neglected edible fungi despite the character assassinations and witticisms that are sometimes associated with them. Remember, flavor and enjoyability are highly subjective and open to interpretation by each of us. So, if you decide to take a walk on the wild side, please follow all of the safety rules for trying a new mushroom, which can be found on the CMS website. Do your homework, verify what you find, and above all stay safe.

You can watch a video of us finding and identifying the Gomphidius smithii on the CMS website.

Sandy and I wish you a joyful holiday season and may we all have a happy and Covid-19 free 2021. Finally, to quote Tiny Tim “God bless us, every one”

 

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.

Sorry, no events to report.
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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