FINDING A MUSHROOM WOODS!

A few years back an older man who lives in the area stopped by the toboggan shop on his way to the boat landing to try a little fishing…I was outside oiling wooden toboggans. During our conversation he started talking about Chanterelle Mushrooms and that got my interest because Pat and I have picked wild mushrooms for years…mainly Morel’s and Shaggy Manes. Morels are out in the Spring and the “Ink Caps” come in the Fall in this area. What I’ve learned since is that the season for Chanterelle’s is pretty much the month of August.

Hands picking chanterelle mushrooms from the forest floor

I was quite curious about a new mushroom with a different season to potentially hunt and as he left, the fellow promised to give me a call when he next goes after them. Well a couple of seasons went by and no call. I bugged him about it once and he still assured me that we would do it sometime…

Since that conversation, I found out that one of our Northern Toboggan and Sled key partners is very much into Chantrelle mushroom hunting as well! This partner is the couple who sews our canvas wrappers and tanks, as well as makes the toboggan pad for our downhill wooden toboggan. I got a lot of local information from them to compare with what I was getting online. (if you are interested…google Chantrelle Mushrooms…you will find a wealth of information) Chantrelle’s are one of the “foolproof” four of the wild mushrooms, meaning that once you know the key identification, there pretty foolproof to recognize, which gives an important peace of mind due to the many toxic mushrooms one can find in the woods.

I still enjoy visiting with my fishing friend but I haven’t brought up the topic as I don’t want to bug him…most dyed-in-the-wool mushroom pickers will not divulge their “mushroom woods”…sacred ground perhaps? I figured I had enough information to set out and find them on my own.

So last year we set out for our first hunt for Chantrelle’s and eventually did find a stand of Red Pine with a fair amount of mushrooms. They were scattered but we did find a couple of gallons for the effort. Unfortunately we didn’t get another chance to get out that summer.

Last spring there was a major forest fire that burned many acres in the area of our first mushroom woods. We checked it out this past summer and sure enough it was gone… The hunt continued!

There was another area that I had been thinking about perhaps 15 miles away and we decided to check it out. As we were cruising the forest trails I noticed an obscure little trail in an old Jackpine stand that looked very interesting… So we pulled in and I told Pat to sit tight and I’ll take a quick peek. I hadn’t gotten far from the truck and I could see mushrooms all over the place! “Whoa, grab the pails dear, this is it!”

This was the beginning of August. We cut quite a few but decided that perhaps we were a bit early as we were finding a lot of small mushrooms that had just emerged. We decided to come back in a couple of weeks.

Sunset in the Northern Minnesota sky

When we returned it was just as we had hoped…mushrooms everywhere! Best yet, this area is a number of acres of prime mushroom woods…I guess it is sacred now

Two metal pots filled with mushrooms beside a pile of chanterelle littering the kitchen counter

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