September 2009

Washington Wild Chanterelle Mushrooms

It's mushroom season in Washington, and I'm beginning to see the first ads from people with chanterelles for sale.

Late September and early October are peak wild-mushroom season, especially in Western Washington around the Olympic Peninsula. There are several varieties of wild mushrooms that "fruit" in the fall—including boletus and the somewhat rare matsutake—but in this area the chanterelles, in both the yellow and the white variety, rule. The yellow variety is especially common on the west side of the Cascades, particularly under the cover of second growth forests rich with Douglas fir and hemlock. The chanterelles look similar to other mushrooms when they first push up from the conifir's roots; small "buttons" of fungi.